Vallone raises nearly $3.5 million in mayoral race

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City Council Speaker Peter Vallone (D-Astoria) had raised nearly $3.5 million in his bid for mayor as of Jan. 1, according to figures disclosed by the Campaign Finance Board, with nearly 10 percent of his contributions coming from the real estate community.

Vallone, whose 27-year career in the City Council will be forced by term limits to conclude at year end, is vying with three other veteran politicians to get his name on the November ballot as the Democratic candidate for mayor.

Vallone’s most recent filings with the Campaign Finance Board show he had raised $3,418,671 as of Jan. 1, $996,665 of which had already been spent by that point. He was left with a war chest of $2.4 million.

Campaign spokesman Mattis Goldman said Vallone intends to raise the maximum allowed by campaign finance rules, which is $5,231,000 for the September primary election by this summer.

City Comptroller Alan Hevesi, another Queens contender who is from Forest Hills, leads the pack of Democratic mayoral candidates with $6,111,084 in contributions. Vallone’s level of funding is comparable to that of Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer at $3,370,489, and Public Advocate Mark Green at $3,570,090, who round out the mayoral race.

There are no declared candidates yet for the GOP side of the roster, but media magnate Michael Bloomberg has been giving serious thought to the race.

Contributions from members of the real estate community — including developers, brokers, architects, managers, contractors and other building trades — account for about 10 percent of Vallone’s funding coffer, $345,000.

According to political consultant Evan Stavisky, real estate interests have long been major contributors to New York City campaigns.

“Historically, the real estate community has been among the leading sectors of the city’s business community when it comes to making political contributi­ons,” he said. “Both owners and tenants have been very active in politics on the city and state level as long as anyone can remember.”

Stavisky said real estate plays such a prominent role in city politics because “it’s a much bigger piece of the New York economy than it is in other places.”

Among the largest contributors on the real estate sector came from individuals affiliated with the Mattone Group, Tishman Realty and Construction, Zar Realty Management and Rose Associates.

Members of the Mattone Group, a large developer responsible for such projects as the multiplex cinema planned for Jamaica, together contributed more than $14,000 to Vallone’s campaign between April 1999 and December 2000.

Mattone Group Chairman Joseph Mattone said he gave to the campaign because he considers Vallone to be a “quiet but effective” politician.

“I happen to think that his politics has kind of been proven by virtue of the fact that he’s served under three different mayors, and I think he’s a man of pretty good character,” Mattone said.

The only other mayoral candidate the Mattones contributed to was Hevesi, to whom members of the group gave slightly less than $2600.

Goldman said Vallone considers his strongest source of funding to be everyday New Yorkers since 4,300 different contributors have made donations to his campaign.

“The bottom line is that a wide-range of New Yorkers have donated to Peter’ s campaign because he’s the best candidate,” Goldman said.

Vallone has raised more than $3 million within New York state and about $530,000 from out-of-state contributors. Nearly half of his out-of-state contributions came from New Jersey, where he raised $241,000, while neighboring Connecticut provided only one-eighth that amount at $30,000.

Within the five boroughs, Manhattan sources have provided the most funding at $1,380,000. Queens is the second largest source of contributions at $543,000, with Brooklyn coming in third at $192,000. Some $61,000 has come out of Staten Island, and $52,000 from the Bronx.

Vallone has received $765,000 in contributions from statewide sources outside the five boroughs.

Some $103,000 in contributions has come from employee organizations such as unions and guilds, while $219,000 has come from political committees, including PACs.

Among employee organizations, the largest contributions came from Transport Workers of America, which gave $8,000, as well as the Corrections Officers Benevolence Association, Plumbers Union Local 1 and Sheet Metal Workers # 28, each of which gave $4,500.

The largest contribution came from Vallone’s own organization, New York State Friends of Peter Vallone, which gave $38,100 to the campaign. Other significant donations from political committees included The New York Outdoor Group PAC, $4,000, the New York State Laborers PAC, $4,500 and the Sergeants Benevolent Association, $4,500.

All four Democratic candidates for mayor are participating in the campaign finance program, which was designed to encourage candidates to seek smaller donations from a greater number of constituents, making them less beholden to a few large contributors.

Candidates who participate in the campaign finance program receive $4 in public matching funds for every dollar a city resident contributes up to $250, for a maximum of $1,000 in public funds per contributor.

The maximum allowable contribution for the mayoral race is $4,500. Vallone has received 142 contributions at that level.

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

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