By David Brand, Jonathan Sperling and Victoria Merlino
Millions of dollars have poured into the primary race to replace late-Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, including big donations from an Academy Award winning actor, a former U.S. senator and an attorney defending Harvey Weinstein, according to the most recent campaign filings published May 24.
With less than a month to go before the June 25 primary election, the candidates, led by Borough President Melinda Katz, have also raked in eye-popping sums from real estate firms and unions. Meanwhile, hundreds of individual donors have contributed modest amounts, primarily to the campaign of Tiffany Cabán, who counted more individual donations than the other six candidates combined.
Katz led the fundraising during the last cycle, accumulating a total of $560,151. Katz has more than $907,000 on hand, including previous fundraising amounts and money rolled over from prior campaigns. Her campaign owes $306,100.98 in loans, mostly from political consulting firm Red Horse Strategies, however. *
The $318,101 Katz received from 300 individual donors is an average of about $1,060.33 per donation. The rest of the total came from corporations, interest groups and unions.
She received $2,500 from the Real Estate Board of New York, $2,500 from the Detectives Endowment Association, $5,000 from Mets owners Sterling Equities and $15,000 from the 32BJ SEIU service workers union.
Katz also received $5,000 from billionaire former Gristedes CEO John Catsimatidis and $15,000 from Daniel Tishman, CEO of Tishman Realty and Construction Co.
Former Judge Gregory Lasak raised a total $444,745.32 to add to his $683,106.73 opening balance. He has $380,571.44 on hand.
The $294,931 he raised from 597 individual donors is an average of $494.02 per donation.
Lasak also raised money from 48 corporations, including security firms and construction companies, and 47 unions and interest groups, including the Police Benevolent Association and the New York State Supreme Court Officers Association. He received $10,000 from the Pistilli Realty Group and at least $7,600 from members of the Mattone family, which owns and operate the Mattone Group development and construction company. The Mattones also donated to Katz’s campaign.
Lasak received $5,000 from former U.S. Sen. Alphonse D’Amato and $10,000 from Michael Sapracione, the CEO of Squad Security.
Former Civilian Complaint Review Board Director Mina Malik raised a total of $397,394.81 and has $64,896.15 left on hand.
Malik raised $397,394.81 from 385 individuals for an average of $1,032.19 per donation. Malik has also loaned her campaign more than $100,000.
Influential attorneys filled Malik’s campaign coffers, including $37,500 from lawyer Paul B. Weitz, $35,000 from lawyer Douglas Wigdor, various contributions from branches of the Cochran Firm and $3,000 from D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, Malik’s former boss.
Malik received $10,000 from Harvard law professor Ronald S. Sullivan, who recently sparked controversy on campus by representing disgraced film executive Harvey Weinstein, who reached a tenative $44 million settlement with women who accused him of rape and sexual abuse. Other notable clients include the family of Michael Brown in a wrongful death suit against the City of Ferguson, Missouri, according to The New York Times, and former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez during his double murder trial, according to Reuters.
Cabán raised a total of $256,673.41 and has $151,356.25 on hand.
The $215,496.21 she raised from 2,545 individuals is an average of about $84.67 per donation — though several individuals donated multiple times. The rest of the money she raised came from the Democratic Socialists of America, Real Justice PAC and the committees for other progressive lawmakers, including Manhattan Assemblymember Dan Quart and Queens Assemblymember Ron Kim. Cabán did not receive corporate donations.
In addition to hundreds of donations of less than $100, Cabán received $2,000 from actor Susan Sarandon, who won an Academy Award for the 1995 film “Dead Man Walking,” $10,000 from philanthropist and former Marshall Project board member Liz Simons, $20,000 from hedge fund billionaire Michael Novogratz and $35,000 from billionaire Patty Quillin, who is married to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. She took in $8,000 from Real Justice PAC.
Councilmember Rory Lancman raised a total of $246,158 to add to the nearly $940,000 he already had in his account.
Lancman received $126,408 from 101 individual donors for an average of $2,820.56 per donor.
Lancman has $529,116.88 on hand, after notably spending on TV ads. He received 38 donations of more than $1,000 from individuals and eight from corporations, including $5,000 from Queens law firm Goldstein & Greenlaw.
Lancman received $2,500 from the Real Estate Board of New York and $10,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Jose Nieves raised a total of $69,647.96 from 138 individual transactions and 12 corporations and interest groups. He has $5,339.77 on hand.
Nieves’ largest contributions totaled $2,500 contributions, including one from Brooklyn-based criminal defense lawyer Damien Brown. The bulk of Nieves’ corporate contributions came from law offices across New York City and Long Island.
Betty Lugo raised a total of $57,627.16, with $21,064.74 left on hand.
Lugo’s largest contribution came from her own pocket — she contributed $25,000 to her campaign on March 27 after contributing $3,000 in February. Her brother, Luis Torres, also contributed $1,000 in March.
There were 48 total contributions to Lugo’s campaign by individuals, and one corporate donation.
* This story has been updated to include information about the Katz campaign’s outstanding liabilities/loans.