Capitol Confidential: Activists take aim at Litwin donations in report

Posted On February 17, 2015

Originally Posted in Times Union  by Matthew Hamilton

Hedge Clippers, a group supported by the Strong Economy for All Coalition, is out with a white paper on billionaire New York City developer Leonard Litwin and his political giving, $1.2 million of which has gone to Gov. Andrew Cuomo since 2008.

The first of the group’s “Hedge Papers” outlines Litwin’s donations and dealings with various high-level elected officials, including Cuomo and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was arrested last month following an investigation that looked at, in part, alleged bribes he took from developers. One of the developers was identified by the New York Times as Litwin’s Glenwood Management, though the complaint filed by federal prosecutors against Silver does not explicitly name the firm.

According to the report, Cuomo campaigns have received the largest amount of Litwin and Glenwood money between 2008 and 2015, totaling $1,214,200. The state Republican Committee ranked second at $807,500. The state Democratic Committee received $300,000.

Rob Astorino, the former Republican candidate for governor, also received donations. The report shows that Friends of Rob Astorino, listed by the Board of Elections as his Westchester County executive account, received $103,059.

Also on the list of the top 50 recipients are various PACs, including the Neighborhood Preservation PAF ($493,150), the Real Estate Board PAC ($175,800) and Jobs for New York ($587,600), the Real Estate Board of New York-backed fund.

Local state Sen. George Amedore’s name makes an appearance as well. The George Amedore for Senate campaign received $75,000 over that period, according to the report.

The report also looks to draw a link between the contributions and 421a tax breaks backed by Cuomo that it has benefited from and a $260 million subsidized loan from the state Housing Finance Agency.

As has been and is still being reported ad nauseum, New York City’s rent regulations are up in June, and the state Legislature controls what the new set will look like.

Read the group’s white paper HedgePapers No. 1 HERE.

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