Paul Massey Makes Mayoral Pitch at REBNY Lunch [Updated]
Terence Cullen Dec. 5, 2016, 5 p.m.
Paul Massey, the president of Cushman & Wakefield‘s New York investment sales and a Republican candidate for mayor, made his case to Real Estate Board of New York members, painting the city as a failing place and taking personal shots at incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“You know me well enough. So I can ask you: I need your help,” Massey told a packed room at the Waldorf Astoria, where REBNY hosted its annual holiday luncheon. “I need you to tell your family and friends that the police won’t turn their back on Paul, because Paul won’t turn his back on them.”
Massey laid out his campaign before attendees, hitting on issues with crime, homelessness, education and housing. He also tried to tap into the anti-establishment wave present during the 2016 election, during which fellow real estate executive Donald Trump won the presidency. (Disclosure: Jared Kushner, the publisher of Commercial Observer, is Trump’s son in law.)
“I’m deeply worried and I’m very concerned,” Massey said of the state of New York City. “If you’re not worried or concerned, I think you should be.”
Massey, who earlier this year filed with the city for the mayoral run and relocated to the city from Larchmont in Westchester County, alleged that the mayor’s office had misrepresented New York Police Department crime statistics, adding that New York might not be as safe as the current administration might say. Additionally, Massey said he’d work with the state to address issues with affordable housing and work with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York State to create affordable housing. Cuomo and de Blasio’s on-going feud has led some to indicate it has led to a slow down in the creation of affordable housing.
“I’ll work with Gov. Cuomo,” he said. “We will put a pipeline of affordable housing together like you haven’t seen.”
Massey went on to say that the number of preserved and newly created affordable housing units claimed by City Hall were actually done by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and only being seen now.
The campaign announced this summer that it would not take part in the city’s matching fund program. Massey said today that if possible he would self-fund his mayoral bid as Bloomberg had. Although he can’t, Massey said he would “put a bunch of my money in this to invest in this and myself.”
REBNY does not endorse candidates and typically does not get directly involved in executive race, like the mayoralty or the governorship. One real estate executive who attended the event told Commercial Observer that Massey might not be as long of a shot as one might think, despite the city typically voting Democratic.
“Clearly he needs to develop as an orator,” the executive said, “but the 2016 election demonstrated that anything can happen and establishment candidates can be vulnerable.”
De Blasio, who won in a landslide in 2013, has enjoyed a better-than-expected relationship with the real estate industry. Last year, he worked with REBNY to draft reforms to the 421a tax abatement, which ultimately could not pass through the state legislature.
“Under Mayor de Blasio, New York City is on pace for the safest year in modern history, jobs are at record highs, and the city is building and preserving affordable housing at a record pace,” a spokesman for the mayor’s re-election campaign said in a statement. “We are happy to match those facts and that record against anyone.”
But hizzoner has come under fire for other issues such as his relationship with the NYPD and his schedule, including working out at a Park Slope YMCA and working outside of City Hall on Fridays. Massey, in his remarks today, took a shot at those things, adding he would keep a rigid schedule.
“Most of you know that I’ve been at my desk at 6:45 a.m. for 30 years,” he said. “The police will never protest me outside my gym at 10:30 in the morning. Ill have already been at work for four or five hours. I also work on Fridays.”
Update: This story was edited to include a comment from the de Blasio campaign.