Real Estates Donations To Christine Quinn Escalated in 2004
From Chapter 8 of "Roots of Betrayal : The Ethics of Christine Quinn," available now on Scribd :
The unmistakable spike in real estate donations to Christine’s political campaign as early as the 2005 election cycle meant that real estate interests and lobbyists were intending to compromise Christine’s independence on real estate issues. The sizeable donations from Gary Barnett, Douglas Durst, George Arzt, James Capalino, and some of the donations from the Meilman family dated back to 2004, an early sign that the fix may have already been in on the speakership from a year prior to the 2005 election. It’s not uncommon for real estate interests to begin making heavy campaign donations over a year in advance to their approved political candidates. The sizeable donations to Ms. Katz’s campaign account also reflected her own contention for the speakership. Christine’s campaign for the speakership began early, as measured by the flood of real estate donations, and, Christine followed Speaker Miller’s pattern of reaching out to the county bosses for their support. This county boss strategy was confirmed by Brooklyn councilmember Bill de Blasio, as told to New York magazine. “She understood, better than I did, that a lot of this ball game revolved around the county Democratic leaders,” he said, adding, “She did a better job in developing those relationships, presenting a personality they were comfortable with, finding out how not to be threatening to them.” In 2002, the Queens County Democratic boss, Tom Manton, had negotiated from Speaker Miller the City Council Land Use committee chair appointment for one of his delegation’s members, Melinda Katz, in whom the real estate industry had already invested multiple and sizeable campaign donations. In the run up to the 2005 campaign season, Mr. Manton was interested in maintaining the status quo for his own power base, as well as for real estate interests, who did not want to take a loss on the money that they had spent to finance Ms. Katz’s appointment to the Land Use committee. Upon Christine’s assumption of the speakership, Ms. Katz kept her leadership post on Land Use, and David Weprin, another member of the Queens City Council delegation, kept his appointment as chair of the powerful Finance committee. He, too, was well-financed by real estate interests and lobbyists. The permanent establishment that spends so heavily on reelecting approved incumbents does not like insurgents of any kind.
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