Lancman leads race for funds

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Democratic state Senate candidate Rory Lancman has a slight lead in raising funds for his bid to unseat 14-term incumbent state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) in a race that has been heating up throughout the summer.

The New York State Board of Elections, which tracks campaign finances for each candidate as well as expenditures, listed the contributions to Lancman's campaign in the period from January 1999 to July 2000 as totaling $103,689 vs. $98,263 in funds for Padavan's campaign.

"Historically the senator raises money from his constituents in the $5 and $10 range," said Ed DeCosmo, a spokesman for Padavan. "He is always outspent. I can't remember in the 18 years that I have worked for the senator that he has outspent an opponent, and people in his constituency are aware of that."

In Lancman's campaign, the four biggest donors were his brother-in-law Benham Kohanim of Great Neck ($5,900), his wife Modjan Cohanim of Flushing ($4,900), his mother Betty Lancman of Flushing ($4,900), and his law-firm boss, Blair Fensterstock of Manhattan ($4,500).

The four were among 28 people who donated $500 or more each, the Board of Elections filings showed. There were also 11 donations of $500, 10 donations of $1,000 and one donation each of $1,500, $2,000, $2,500, $4,500, based on the filings.

"As a first-time candidate, I will have a different financing structure," Lancman said. "I don't have a 28-year funding base, and the large contributions came from family and friends who are excited about my race."

Lancman attracted 211 donations of at least $100 in the 18-month filing period. The majority of those contributions fell in the $200 to $300 range.

His total of unitemized donations under $100 was $6,917, or 6.7 percent of his total campaign contributions. Lancman listed this category by individual contribution while Padavan only provided the total dollar amount.

Padavan's contributions were in the $500 level or lower with the majority of his disclosed contributions falling between the $100 to $200 range. His largest individual contribution came from Vincent Macaluso of Douglaston. Macaluso donated $200 on Sept. 20, 1999 and another $1,000 on June 27, 2000.

Seven people - John Belanich of Great Neck, Charles Lombardi of Bayside, Robert Sobel of Greenwich, Conn., Ralph Balba of Astoria, David Kelley of Manhattan, Jamed Hammod of Jamaica Estates and Louis Puglisi of Little Neck - each donated $500 to Padavan's re-election campaign.

Of the 170 recorded donations to Padavan's campaign, there were 124 donations of $100, 46 ranging from $101 to $500 and one donation of $1,000.

A large part of Padavan's money came from donations which were classified and unitemized, which means the dollar amount of each was less than $100. Padavan received $60 in unitemized donations for the first half of 1999, $24,558 for the second half, and $19,133 for the first half of this year.

His total of unitemized donations equaled $43,751, or 44.5 percent, of his total campaign contributions.

"I solicit from my constituency," Padavan said. "I sent a letter out in June and this is what you see. I think my average contribution is $26."

For both Lancman and Padavan, corporate donations accounted for a very small part of their campaign war chest. Lancman got $8,815 from corporations, while Padavan received a total of $2,900 from corporate donations.

The largest corporate gifts to Lancman's campaign came from Charted Capital Advisers in Manhattan, which donated $1,500, American Casino Equipment in Ozone Park and the Fonda Group in Oshkosh, Wis., which donated $1,000 each.

"I am at a tremendous disadvantage when it comes to pursuing corporate donations because of my policies," said Lancman, who described himself as anti-smoking and pro-tenant. He said he is targeting HMOs and insurance companies.

The largest single corporate donations to Padavan's campaign were given by Two Worlds Arts in Manhattan, which donated $500, and the HBQVB Athletic Association, a Little League organization in Bellerose, which donated $850. The rest of the corporate donations fell within the $100 to $300 range.

Padavan said the donation by the Little League came from the parents of the children in the Little League, which he said he has "supported over the years." He said the contribution was unsolicited and the donations were tickets they bought for a fund-raiser he held.

When it comes to other donations from political action committees, politicians and unions, Padavan has raised more than Lancman. Lancman received $18,450 in donations from that sector, while Padavan has received $27,600, the filings showed.

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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