Other information on donors of note:
Grodenchik, a multi-decade employee at Borough Hall with a single term in the New York State Assembly more than a decade ago as his only electoral experience, has raised more funds from other elected and former elected official campaign chests ($8,500) than all of his in-district contributions from the 23rd Council District ($8,297) combined.
Grodenchik's contributors are an example of how the Queens County Democratic Machine tries to bulldoze their way to a victory in what should be a competitive race for elected office. More than 40% of his significant contributions come from direct political connections, including elected officials, former elected officials, judges, political staffers, community board chairs and district managers (including some from Boards 8, 11 and 13 which is partially in the 23rd Council District), and, also importantly, those people whose organizations have benefitted from the purse strings of Borough Hall, where he has been a staffer for decades. And this doesn't even include developers or other businesses looking to get favors and approvals from Borough Hall.
The campaign chests of Liz Crowley and Mark Weprin each gave him $2,750, while Dan Garodnick, a Councilmember from Manhattan gave him $2,000 from his war chest. District Leader Martha Taylor, the co-leader with David Weprin for that area, gave him $250 from her abortive run for City Council in 2013, while Andrew Hevesi gave him $500 and former Assemblymember Jonathan Bing gave him $250 from his old campaign chest (still active) and $175, the maximum public match for an individual donation; Liz Crowley also gave him another $175.
The NYC Property Tax Fairness PAC gave Grodenchik $500. This Political Action Committee, which operates out of Albany, is run by David Weinraub, a partner of Brown & Weinraub, PLLC, listed as the 7th in a list of New York State's Top 10 Lobbyists in 2014 on the City and State NY website. In 2013, they also hired the former top aide and chief legal counsel to Sheldon Silver, Michael Boxley, who was convicted of sexually abusing a legislative staffer, as a principal in the firm.
Rosemary Vietor, VP of the Bowne House Historical Society, donated $1,000; the Bowne House received significant funding from the Borough President's office for its recent restoration.
Daniel Zausner, COO of the United States Tennis Association, donated $250; the USTA was given public parkland to expand their footprint in 2013, bullishly supported by the Borough President's office during the ULURP land use process.
The owner, Simon Pelman, family members and some employees, of the Union Plaza Nursing Home in Flushing - where Community Board 7 holds its meetings - gave Grodenchik $3,575 more than *all* of the developers and real estate contributions combined. Pelman owns and operates multiple nursing homes throughout Queens. He wrote a letter of support to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman during the trial of William Rapfogel, the former President of the Metropolitan New York Council on Jewish Poverty who embezzled $9 million and used much of the money to make campaign contributions, through straw donors, to win the favor of political candidates.
The largest real estate contributions were $1,000 from Christian Lee, the Principal of F+T Group, developers of the under-construction Flushing Commons on the site of the former Municipal Parking Lot, who received their approvals from Borough Hall; and Thomas D. Wong, a "retired" real estate broker from Maspeth, who contributed $1,175. Carl Mattone, President of the Mattone Group, made sure to drop him a small $250 contribution to remind him that they are still in the local development game.
The President, Wu-Hsing Liao, his family/employees, and the C.E.O. of Asia Bank, N.A., based in downtown Flushing, contributed $1,200 to Grodenchik.
Finally, the owners and family of Plaza College in Forest Hills, the Callahans of Douglas Manor and Whitestone, gave four contributions of $175 each totaling $700. Plaza College is interesting for several reasons: not only is it a small private college celebrating a century in operation next year, it has been run by the same family since its founding. More interesting are some of the people sitting on its Board of Directors:
- Leo Fakler, Tommy Huang's architect in the 1980s and a favorite of Borough Hall
- Marilyn McAndrews, a staffer for Community Board 7
- Helen Sears, the former Councilmember for Jackson Heights and Elmhurst and now Deputy City Clerk, working in the basement of Borough Hall handing out marriage licenses
- Al Pennisi - The President of the Queens Chamber of Commerce
Draw your own conclusions, folks!