Three days before New York’s primary, a millionaire real estate tycoon has spent big to help Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in his race against Zephyr Teachout to secure the Democratic nomination for attorney general, according to Sludge.
Stephen Ross, the real estate mogul, is a seasoned political donor who has spent almost $380,000 on influencing elections. But he usually donates to Republicans, including giving sizable sums to Paul Ryan’s fundraising committee and the Republican National Committee. Ross’ company, The Related Companies, was responsible for developing the Time Warner headquarters in Columbus Circle.
You can’t just throw $100,000 into a political race—it has to be done through political committees. So The Related Companies donated $100,000 to the Committee for Justice and Fairness PAC, and the PAC then spent the money on a pricey digital ad campaign. Ross and his wife then each donated $21,000 to Maloney’s campaign.
Ross isn’t the first real estate businessperson to back Teachout’s opponent. Maloney, who is also running for re-election in New York’s 18th District, has received nearly $338,000 from real estate interests during his campaign, according to Sludge.
Why do real estate developers hate Teachout so much?
“New York is home to a massive real estate industry, and the next attorney general is uniquely positioned to prosecute potential bad actors in this arena, which is a breeding ground for corruption in state government and within the Trump administration,” Sludge writes. Teachout also promised in an interview with The Nation, “to enforce New York State laws against criminality at the top level in real estate.”
Maloney emailed the podcast FAQ NYC a few weeks ago to defend himself against accusations that he’s beholden to the industry. He promised that “when I am attorney general, if those facts tell me you’re committing a crime, I don’t give a damn who you are—shady landlord or real estate billionaire—we are coming for you.”
But if that was really the case, real estate tycoons like Ross wouldn’t donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaign. If the real estate industry knows anything, it’s how to get their way. And if Maloney wasn’t going to deliver for them, it’s hard to believe they’d waste their money in this race.
“Big real estate is throwing everything at me because they know I won’t back down,” Teachout told Sludge. “New Yorkers need an Attorney General to protect them from predatory billionaires like Ross. I’ll stand up for the union laborers, the families facing higher housing costs and pensioners and retirees.”