De Blasio Releases Long Awaited List of Donors
On Friday September 1st, Mayor Bill de Blasio finally released his long promised list of campaign donors who wanted campaign favors but didn’t receive them. About 15 months have lapsed since he promised to produce the list in May 2016. Still, despite the time lapse, the list produced seems vague and lists only four examples, two of which were already publicized. Hizzoner does not mention the names of any donors in his letter, which he posted on Medium. com, but rather he takes the opportunity to eloquently present his own case.
“What these emails show in candid detail is that people frequently ask City officials for things. Some of their requests are large, some are small, and many are impractical. They often don’t get what they want. When they do, it’s only because their grievances were valid or their ideas were laudable and in our city’s interest,” wrote the Mayor, regarding the much publicized emails in which he corresponded with several of his donors who requested favors.
He writes about a “leading real estate developer and campaign contributor who wanted the contract for our new citywide ferry service.” The donor did not receive the contract.
“Another real estate developer and important financial backer of my campaign wanted to know what would happen on a land use action before the public had a chance to weigh in. I made clear that was it was impossible to say. It didn’t matter how much money he gave my campaign. I would have given the same answer to anyone. He wasn’t happy about it, but our standard of integrity doesn’t waver when dealing with the wealthy and connected,” said de Blasio.
As reported by the NY Post, a City Hall source identified the donors as Douglas Durst in the ferry deal and Don Pebbles, who was interested in the Long Island College Hospital development.
The Mayor continues his essay making reference to “two individuals, whom we now know to be involved with a police corruption case that originated in the prior administration” who “also requested lots from me and their City government”, saying his administration “treated him like any other building owner.” He said the city also takes requests from “people who have stopped me on the subway or on the sidewalk.”
The letter goes on to berate the media outlets for their attacks on him saying, “Media reports on these contacts fixated on their access to me and ignored the fair and transparent outcomes that followed. Unfortunately, sensationalism often sells in New York City. Merit-based bureaucratic decision-making is a little boring for the nightly news.”
De Blasio begins his conclusion with the following lament, “A frequently undeserved cynicism nearly always crowds out the facts. It refuses to recognize that our democracy is built—rightly or wrongly—on the reality that candidates must seek private donations to hold public office. I hope for a time when the boundless energy spent distorting the donor-City Hall relationship can be redirected toward a demand for publicly financed elections.”
Critics including Mayoral rival Sal Albanese bashed de Blasio’s letter calling it a “disgraceful whitewash of his record of corruption which discloses nothing.”
As reported by the NY Post, a City Hall source identified the donors as Douglas Durst (pictured above) in the ferry deal and Don Pebbles, who was interested in the Long Island College Hospital development.