Kathy Hochul donors appreciate Hudson Yards site for mega-development

Governor Kathy Hochul’s campaign is attracting millions of dollars in related contributions from realtors seeking or doing business with the state – including donors salivating to develop a prized vacant lot in Hudson Yards across from the Jacob Javits Convention Center , according to the records.

Donahue “Don” Peebles, one of New York’s largest minority builders, plans to resubmit a plan to develop the vacant site on 11th Avenue known as “Site K” when Empire State Development controlled by Hochul will solicit new offers some time after the election.

Peebles, his wife, Katrina, and son, Roy III, donated $15,000 each for a total of $45,000 to Hochul over the summer.

Peebles also rounded up more donations by hosting a fundraising dinner with her campaign committee, Friends for Kathy Hochul, at her summer home in Sag Harbor, generating more than six figures in her campaign coffers.

Developer Don Peebles, who wants to build a towering office hotel tower in Hudson Yards across from the Jacob Javits Center, has held a fundraiser and personally donated to Governor Kathy Hochul’s campaign.
John Roca

The donations come as Hochul has been accused of pay-for-play schemes as she raised a record $45.8 million in donations for her bid to win a full term as governor.

Disgraced ex-governor. Andrew Cuomo sought to develop the vacant land at Site K, but Hochul stalled the project last year amid complaints that it lacked affordable housing.

Other developers – including related companies – have also expressed interest in developing the site, a source familiar with the bidding process said.

Stephen Ross, president of Related Companies and owner of the Miami Dolphins, and Jeff Blau, CEO, both donated up to $69,700 to Hochul’s campaign earlier this year.

Governor Kathy Hochul
Hochul and his campaign have denied any “pay to play” allegations.
William Farrington

Peebles’ original proposal called for a 1,663-foot affirmation tower with two hotels, retail space, an ice rink, and an observation deck.

Peebles told the Post he would also provide space for the NAACP and the Al Sharpton Civil Rights Museum.

“Absolutely, we will re-bid,” Peebles said.

Peebles argued it was too expensive to build homes on the property, but said proceeds from the sale could be used to build affordable apartments elsewhere.

Hudson Yards rooftops
Hochul’s campaign receives an influx of developers from Hudson Yards.
Getty Images

He said Hochul and his team contacted him shortly after replacing Cuomo following his resignation as governor amid several scandals last year.

“She had to reach out. No one knew who she was,” he said, noting that Hochul was in the shadow of the former three-term governor, who denied any wrongdoing while she was lieutenant governor.

Peebles said he stressed to Hochul the importance of generally expanding economic opportunities to minorities and minority-run businesses.

The black developer, who has flirted with running for mayor in the past, acknowledged that New York state’s contribution limits for governor and other offices are lax compared to the cities in which he does business. business, including New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

These cities place stricter limits on donations that leaders and businesses can make to local elected officials when doing business with local governments.

“There is a need for campaign finance reform in New York,” he said.

Hochul has been dogged by revelations about the no-tender deal his administration reached late last year with New Jersey-based Digital Gadgets, which billed the state twice as much as the other states paid for the same tests.

Digital Gadgets founder Charlie Tebele hosted a fundraiser for the governor last November, just days before she declared a state of emergency that suspends normal state oversight procedures. He and his family donated nearly $300,000 to Hochul.

Charlie Tebele, founder of Digital Gadgets
Digital Gadgets founder Charlie Tebele and associates donated nearly $300,000 to Hochul’s campaign and landed an emergency no-tender contract to supply COVID-19 testing kits

Records also show that Medical Answering Services, which handles the transportation of Medicaid patients on behalf of the state, donated more than $300,000 to the campaigns of Hochul and the disgraced ex-governor. Andrew Cuomo, whom Hochul replaced last August.

The governor denied giving preferential treatment to anyone.

“Admittedly, there never has been or there will never be a link between a contribution and a policy or a decision and so we are in a very competitive environment,” Hochul said Wednesday at a press conference. independent in Manhattan highlighting funding for abortion services.

“I don’t have the advantage of having billionaires pouring millions and millions of dollars as recently as this week into black-money Super PACs,” Hochul said, referring to the indie Super PACS backing his opponent. Republican gubernatorial Rep. Lee Zeldin, who raised a mere fraction of what Hochul has.

Steve Wyn
Retired casino magnate Steve Wynn donated $500,000 to Save Our State’s Super PAC to support Hochul’s Repubilcan rival for governor, Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin.

Cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder has donated at least $4.45 million to pro-Zeldin groups Save Our State and Safe Together.

Former casino magnate Steven Wynn also donated $500,000 to save our state.