Giving and Getting

Bloomberg and Doctoroff: Reshaping the city's skyline for the Olympics

The list of contributors to the nonprofit group launched by Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff to bring the Olympics to New York City looks a lot like the list of those who regularly give to city political campaigns. While donors insist their motivation is purely civic minded, it's hard not to notice the overlap between those making big (and tax-deductible) gifts and those with major projects at stake during the Bloomberg administration. Here are some of them.

The Willard T.C. Johnson Foundation:The family foundation of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson has a clear stake in the NYC2012 Olympics bid: The Olympic stadium would double as a new home for Johnson's team, which, with new luxury sky boxes, could double his revenues, according to experts. The foundation gave $150,000 to NYC2012 before Doctoroff took office in 2002; since then its contributions have passed $1 million.

The Related Companies: Developer Steve Ross is a friend and occasional adviser to Doctoroff, meeting with him regularly and speaking to him often, appointment schedules show. He is a top fundraiser for NYC2012, contributing $750,000. His firm has won city projects and subsidies in the Bronx under the Bloomberg administration.

Two Trees Management: Developers David and Jed Walentas were selected to develop two city-owned Brooklyn sites, including the old Board of Ed headquarters on Livingston Street, by the Bloomberg administration. Doctoroff's logs show he met twice with the Walentases, including a tour of their DUMBO empire in 2002. The firm later came on board for the Olympics, contributing $100,000 to NYC2012.

Vornado Real Estate: Developer Steve Roth, who gave $50,000 to NYC2012 before Doctoroff took office, is a major property owner in the Penn Station area and "has been supportive of the redevelopment of the West Side," a spokesperson said. He met with Doctoroff twice at City Hall and has since doubled his Olympics contributions to $100,000.

Bank of America/the Durst Organization: The bank and developer Douglas Durst had given $50,000 apiece to the Olympics committee before 2002. Since then, the two, after meetings with Doctoroff, have been approved for $650 million in Liberty Bonds to build a West 42nd Street skyscraper. The bank's NYC2012 contributions have reached $500,000; Durst has given $100,000.

Glenwood Management: Real estate developer Leonard Litwin has won Liberty Bonds for two Lower Manhattan projects. Records show he had given $100,000 to NYC2012 prior to Doctoroff taking office; his gifts have doubled since then. "The one has nothing to do with the other," Litwin said.

Industry City Associates: These owners of industrial property in Brooklyn gave $100,000 to NYC2012 while they were seeking a controversial zoning variance to turn a Red Hook property into condos (see "Converting Red Hook," Voice, November 16, 2004). Doctoroff's logs show meetings with the developers as well as many with the members of the zoning appeals board that later granted the variance.


This article was reported with Andrea Bernstein of WNYC New York Public Radio, with research assistance by Kate Hinds and Eric Cantor.

 
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