Gary Barnett is hedging his bets in the New York City mayoral race.
In addition to dropping $250,000 on the pro-Eric Adams PAC Strong Leadership NYC, the Extell Development president quietly contributed $50,000 to a separate PAC backing former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia, public records show.
The PAC, New Generation Leadership, has spent $45,000 to date, all on digital advertisements, including two 15-second video spots. In total, the group has reported raising $206,000. Barnett is by far its largest individual donor, according to public records.
The ads portray Garcia as an experienced, competent operator, and several make reference to recent controversies surrounding whether her two top rivals, Adams and Andrew Yang, stayed in New York City during the pandemic.
One features a sweeping shot of the city skyline, Extell’s Central Park Tower looming over its canopied namesake, with large text reading, “We can’t believe this even needs to be said… Kathryn Garcia lives in New York City.”
Barnett, who did not respond to requests for comment, is not the only real estate player to get involved with the PAC. Its two next-largest donors are Stone Capital Realty and Mercury July, an LLC registered under BRC partners principal Donald Capoccia, who each contributed $25,000. Ron Moelis, founding partner and CEO of L+M Development, chipped in $10,000, and David Dishy, L+M’s president of development, added $5,000.
The PAC is also backed by Neil Barsky, the founder of the Marshall Project, a non-profit newsroom covering criminal justice issues. Ronnie Cho, a former Obama White House official and vocal advocate online for Garcia, is listed as the PAC’s treasurer.
“I think that real estate is in the blood of every New York City resident,” Garcia told The Real Deal in May.
Barnett has been a prolific donor to other Democratic Party candidates, donating $200,000 to a PAC that supported Hillary Clinton for president in 2015 and 2016, according to the research group OpenSecrets. His benefactors also include several sitting senators, the state Democratic parties of Nevada and New Jersey, and a smattering of legislators in local and national politics.
BFC Partners and L+M Development did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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