Melinda Katz may not be a household name, but she’s in charge of the most powerful committee in the City Council and has helped shepherd through legislation that has changed the landscape of development in New York City.
As the chair of the council’s Land Use Committee, Katz makes hundreds of high-voltage zoning decisions and hears requests from developers and property owners that often require her to balance preservation with the omnipresent construction that has defined her tenure in the council.
Katz gets help from industry heavy hitters
Now, the Queens Democrat is looking for a promotion and is considered one of the frontrunners in the race to become the city’s next comptroller.
Katz’s position as head of the Land Use Committee gives her a unique perch to raise money from. And, she has been effectively leveraging it.
Several major developers are helping her raise cash, and her finance committee is filled with some of the biggest real estate heavyweights in city. They include the CEO of the Extell Development Company, Gary Barnett; the head of the Durst Organization, Douglas Durst; the father-and-son team at Two Trees Management, David and Jed Walentas; the president of the Related Companies, Jeff Blau; the president of Muss Development, Joshua Muss; and a number of others.
Her fundraising strategies are not unique. Many candidates turn to development and real estate contacts for cash. But her position gives her added clout and raises questions about how appropriate those contributions are.