Mega-donors contribute more than $500K in last days of Queens DA primary race

Melinda Katz talks to the press at her campaign kickoff event last year.  Eagle  file photo by David Brand

Melinda Katz talks to the press at her campaign kickoff event last year. Eagle file photo by David Brand

By David Brand

A late influx of nearly $500,000 is funding the three favorites for Queens District Attorney in the final days before the June 25 Democratic primary election.

After the 11-day disclosure deadline, candidates must report each contribution over $1,000 within 24 hours of receiving the money. Most of the late four- and five-figure campaign contributions have gone to Melinda Katz, with former Judge Gregory Lasak and the Working Families Party, which supports Tiffany Cabán, also raking in the dough.

Katz, the Queens borough president and former chair of the City Council’s Land Use Committee, raised at least $270,650 in eight days from a who’s who of political leaders, billionaires, real estate developers and labor unions since submitting her last financial disclosure report to the Board of Elections. Overall, she got 36 big-money sums between June 13 and June 21.

The Working Families Party got $124,500 from seven funders, while Better Prosecutors for New York, another committee supporting Cabán, received $35,000. Lasak raised $85,218.31 from 16 of his own big-money contributors, according to the 24-hour notices.

Katz 💰

The United Federation of Teachers pitched in the biggest sum to Katz, with a $36,000 contribution on June 20.

The Real Estate Board of New York gave $28,500 while financier and developer Howard Milstein provided an additional $26,000.

Developer Stephen Ross and jewelry designer Kara Ross gave Katz a combined $15,000.

She took in $12,500 from Joe for NY, the campaign committee of former U.S. Rep. and Queens County Democratic Party Chairperson Joe Crowley, who is now a lobbyist. She received another $7,500 from Maspeth electrician Gary Dawes, who got engaged to former Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley — Joe’s cousin — in 2016.

Elizabeth Crowley is considering a run for Queens Borough President — a position that would open up if Katz wins the DA race.

Developer Gary Barnett; Bloomberg LP President Daniel Doctoroff, a former deputy mayor; and Billionaire supermarket owner John Catsimatidis each gave Katz $10,000. So did Speaker Heastie PAC, the political action committee of state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

The 1199 SEIU Political Action Fund gave $10,000.

Woodside Ventures, LLC and Rego Park Ventures, LLC — two opaque LLCs that own buildings in Queens — each contributed $5,000.

Cabán 💰

Cabán’s individual committee did not receive any contributions of more than $1,000, according to the 24-hour notices, but two organizations working on her behalf did.

The Working Families Party received a $70,000 contribution from Justice and Public Safety PAC, which is funded by billionaire George Soros. (Meanwhile, Soros’ son gave Lasak $5,000).

Developer Allen Fertik supplied $10,000 to the WFP.

Better Prosecutors for New York, which bought TV ads supporting Cabán, received $35,000 from Michael Hoffman. City & State reported that Hoffman is a Brooklyn software engineer.

Lasak 💰

Lasak received his biggest sums from real estate developers and law enforcement interests after the 11-day filing deadline.

Leonard D’Amico of the D & F Development Group gave Lasak $20,000, while real estate developer Gandolfo DiFiore chipped in $5,000. Property manager Kathy Kourkoumelis provided $10,000, a few days after real estate lawyer Aristidis Kourkoumelis gave Lasak $2,000.

The Sergeants Benevolent Association PAC gave $8,000 and the Sheet Metal Workers Union gave $10,000.

Michael Sapraicone of Squad Security, a private security and investigation firm, contributed $2,218.31 to go with $10,000 he already donated, according to previous campaign filings.

The New York State Court Officers Association PAC contributed $3,000, and the Lieutenants Benevolent Association gave $1,500.

Former Civilian Complaint Review Board Director Mina Malik received $44,210, according to the 24-hour notices. Most of that total came from money she and her husband, attorney Derek Sells, contributed.

Councilmember Rory Lancman, who dropped out of the race and endorsed Katz last week, received $19,750 from three possibly disappointed donors.

As of 11:15 p.m. Sunday night, attorney Betty Lugo and former state Attorney General’s Office prosecutor Jose Nieves had not reported any contributions over $1,000 since the 11-day filing deadline.