Big donors boost de Blasio

NYC mayoral candidates Joe Lhota, left, and Bill NYC mayoral candidates Joe Lhota, left, and Bill de Blasio (Aug. 6, 2013; Sept. 10, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Democratic nominee Bill de Blasio, who has made taxing the rich a centerpiece of his mayoral campaign, raised more from donors who could afford to give the $4,950 legal maximum than his business-friendly opponent, Republican Joe Lhota, according to an analysis of the latest two-week disclosure made to the city.

Fifty-five de Blasio donors maxed out, compared with just 12 of Lhota's.

To fund universal prekindergarten and after-school programs, de Blasio wants to raise taxes on New Yorkers making more than $500,000, and has cast income inequality as a "Tale of Two Cities"; Lhota calls for cutting taxes and blasts de Blasio as advocating "class warfare."

Donors from the real estate, law and construction industries also gave more to de Blasio than to Lhota, the analysis showed: $148,333 vs. $54,451.

Among de Blasio's top donors: real estate developer John Zuccotti, the namesake of the park that Occupy Wall Street activists took over in 2011; Alexander and Andrea Soros, children of the liberal billionaire George Soros, and Leonard Feinstein, a founder of Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Polls taken since the primary show Lhota trailing de Blasio by 50 percentage points.

The one big sector in which Lhota, a former investment banker, did better than de Blasio was with donors in finance, banking or insurance. Lhota got $51,151 to de Blasio's $16,910.

Among Lhota's donors was Dennis Riese, head of the Riese Organization, which operates dozens of restaurants in the city, including T.G.I. Friday's, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC.

Lhota vowed yesterday he would still reach the $6.4 million spending cap imposed because both men are receiving matching funds from the city.

"I will catch up," Lhota said.

Herman Lebovitch, Brookdale Hospital's vice chairman of medicine, said he gave the legally allowed maximum of $4,950 to de Blasio after the candidate made a campaign stop at the hospital a few weeks ago.

"He is very supportive of hospitals," said Lebovitch, 64, noting de Blasio's fights against hospital closures.

Jan Billingsley, 66, a writer from Manhattan's Upper West Side, gave $4,950 to Lhota based on the former deputy mayor's "competence" and her doubts about de Blasio's ability.

"Having lived in the city throughout the '70s and into the '80s, there was terrible crime, and it was not a great place to be," she said.

Riese said Lhota would keep the city prosperous. "He has a business background, so I think he knows how to run a large organization," Riese said.

Lhota and de Blasio both made campaign stops yesterday morning at the Rev. Al Sharpton's Harlem headquarters for his 59th birthday.

Afterward, de Blasio backpedaled from a description he had given himself Friday before city business leaders: a "fiscal conservative."

"I'm going to use a more precise phrase," he said. "I'm a fiscally responsible progressive."

You also may be interested in: