A political action committee funded by New York City's real estate titans has trained its focus on a rather unlikely target in 2013: the city's borough president races.
Taxpayers for an Affordable New York, which is administered by the Real Estate Board of New York, has given to three candidates in the Queens borough president's race: $3,850 to former Councilwoman Melinda Katz, $2,000 to former Queens Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik and $3,850 to Queens Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.
The PAC has also given $3,850 to Manhattan borough president candidate Jessica Lappin, who is a member of the City Council, and $1,000 to Brooklyn borough president frontrunner Eric Adams, who serves in the state Senate. In 2011 and 2012, the group gave $2,750 to Councilman James Vacca, who at that time was a potential candidate for Bronx borough president.
Otherwise, the PAC has only given a few scattered contributions to council campaigns, and none to citywide candidates this election cycles. A source close to the group explained its gifts to borough president candidates this way: "We make donations to candidates who share our desire for economic development."
Borough presidents review all public and private land-use projects in their boroughs that are subject to the city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure and issue recommendations. Their opinions are not binding, but can be very influential.