From the NY Observer:
On Wednesday, May 13, Melinda Katz strode into the second floor of the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park South, where a suited crowd of mostly white, male real estate people sat expectantly. It was a luncheon for the Associated Builders and Owners of Greater New York. She was the guest speaker.
Ms. Katz moved easily in this crowd, shaking hands, touching arms, assuming the swagger and bravado peculiar to the real estate set. At times, she seemed much like a beloved younger sister bantering with older brothers.
As chair of the land-use committee, Ms. Katz has become a major player in the real estate community. She has presided, with relatively little controversy, over enormously important land-use decisions, ranging from the redevelopment of Willets Point to the rezoning of 125th Street in Harlem.
But she has done so with a marked disregard for appearances. A swift glance at her campaign finance records reveals contributions from pretty much every single major player in the New York real estate scene, including many with business before her committee: the Rudins, the Toll Brothers and the Walentases, to name a very few.