Real Estate, School, Gay Activists Give to Paterson

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The New York Sun

Real estate developers, school choice proponents, and gay rights activists are among Governor Paterson’s most generous contributors.

Mr. Paterson, who surprised many in Albany by raising $3 million since becoming governor in March, drew contributions from a constellation of Albany interests, such as trial lawyers, contractors, teacher unions, state troopers, insurance, and health care companies, according to filings submitted yesterday by his campaign committee to the State Board of Elections.

The Democratic governor’s largest benefactor appeared to be the real estate industry, which flooded his campaign coffers with hundreds of thousands of dollars, including from many limited liability companies.

The developers donated to Mr. Paterson in advance of what could be a pivotal moment for the industry, whose opposition to rent regulations threatens to be over-powered by shifts in the Legislature.

Developers fear that Senate Democrats will vote to expand rent regulation laws in New York City if they grab the majority this year. If Republicans, who have been allies of the developers, lose control of the chamber, Mr. Paterson’s position on the issue will be crucial.

Three Elghanayan brothers, Frederick, Henry, and Kamran, of the Rockrose Development Corporation, contributed a total of at least $25,000 to Mr. Paterson’s campaign committee.

Peter Fine, whose Atlantic Development Group is the city’s largest builder of below-market-rate apartments and a major beneficiary of the state’s 421-a tax abatement program, gave a total of $100,000 through limited liability companies and individual contributions.

The chairman of the real estate firm,Newmark Knight Frank, Jeffrey Gural, donated at least $27,500 to the governor. World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein, donated $50,000.

Mr. Paterson also appears to have been rewarded for his support for expanding the number of charter schools in New York beyond the current limit of 200.

He received $20,000 from Ravenel Boykin Curry, who is a founder of the lobbying group Democrats for Education Reform, and $20,000 from J.C. Huizenga, who is the founder of National Heritage Academies, a company that manages 23 charter schools across the country, including three in New York.

Mr. Paterson, who has championed gay marriage, received $10,000 from the Empire State Pride Agenda, and five-figure donations from two other prominent gay marriage proponents, a Republican New York real estate developer, Donald Capoccia, and the Master Lock heir, Jeff Soref.

Among his other contributions:

  • $2,500 from a former New York City schools chancellor, Harold Levy.
  • $25,000 from Ronald Perelman’s holding company, MacAndrews & Forbes LLC.
  • $35,000 each from two New York businessmen, Richard Gilder and Roger Hertog, who are leaders of the New York Historical Society and among the owners of The New York Sun.
  • $25,000 from the former executive of the YES sports network, Leo Hindery Jr.
  • A total of $100,000 from the Barnes & Noble chairman, Leonard Riggio, and his wife.
  • $46,000 from the former Loral Corp. chairman, Bernard Schwartz.
  • $1,000 from a landlord who has been criticized for the condition of his apartments, Baruch Singer.
  • $5,000 from Howard Bovers, who is the chairman of the Atlantic Sea Island Group, a collection of private investors who are seeking to build a 60-acre artificial island east of New Jersey.

The latest batch of campaign filings also showed that the former governor, Eliot Spitzer, who is under federal investigation, made two campaign payments totaling $822 to the Washington, D.C., hotel where he met with a prostitute in February.

The expenses to the Mayflower Hotel were dated January 14, a month before Mr. Spitzer’s tryst, details of which were exposed in March and prompted his resignation. Spitzer 2010 also made two payments of $667.89 each to the Four Seasons Resort hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. on February 28.

The committee listed the expenditures as fund-raising expenses.

“The campaign had a very rigorous system to vet expenses,” a spokesman for the Spitzer committee, Jonathan Rosen, said. “We can say unequivocally that all expenditures were for legitimate campaign purposes.”


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