A select group of supporters of Governor Andrew Cuomo, 20 in number, raised around $17 million to help support the Governor’s agenda, as was first reported by The New York Times Sunday.
The group, called the Committee to Save New York, provided money to help support Governor Cuomo’s first 18 months in office, even funding a pro-Cuomo media campaign to help counter a barrage of anti-Cuomo advertisements funded by labor unions.
In The Commercial Observer’s “Power 100” profile of Gov. Cuomo (who ranked 3rd in the 2012 list), the Governor was able to pass his first budget with little repercussions, thanks in large part to the contributions the Committee made to his media campaign.
The founding members of the group include Tishman Speyer president Rob Speyer, REBNY’s Steven Spinola, and the Partnership for New York City’s Kathryn Wylde. CBRE’s Mary Ann Tighe is a member of The Committee to Save New York’s advisory board, as is Gary LaBarbera, President, Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, according to the Committee’s website.
According to paperwork obtained by The New York Times, more than two-thirds of the $17 million raised by the committee came from donors donating $250,000, “far in excess of the $60,800 that New York law permits individuals to give directly to candidates,” the paper said.
This did not sit well with Bill Mahoney of the New York Public Interest Research Group, who said the committee’s actions showed that wealthy donors “continue to play a disproportionate role in the state’s political discourse.”
Governor Cuomo’s ties to the real estate community are well-established, as he has long seen development and real estate as two essential cogs in the economic prosperity of New York State.