The New York Times (NYT) reports that Boston-based Suffolk Construction hosted a fundraiser in Boston this morning (April 5) for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, which the NYT says is aimed at “raising cash and boosting his national profile as he toys with a 2020 presidential run.”
“The invitation was sent to a select group of well-heeled potential donors,” contributing up to $5,000 each, the NYT said.
“For the company hosting him, Suffolk Construction, the fund-raiser offered a chance to help Mr. de Blasio at a time when the business is aggressively trying to extend its footprint in the city.”
The newspaper says late last year, Suffolk hired Shola Olatoye, the former chairwoman of the New York City Housing Authority,”who resigned amid scandal last year, but had been roundly praised by Mr. de Blasio throughout her tenure. Ms. Olatoye’s responsibilities for Suffolk include generating new business in and around New York.”
Mr. de Blasio has previously faced questions over his fund-raising tactics that have appeared to target those with actual or potential business with the city government. State and federal prosecutors investigated his practices but declined to bring charges.
The mayor is now seeking large donations for his political action committee, Fairness PAC, which has paid for some of Mr. de Blasio’s recent cross-country travel. Shortly after his fund-raiser in Boston, Mr. de Blasio was to travel on Friday to Nevada to meet with local Democrats.
“We have a political system that requires us to seek individual donations,” Mr. de Blasio said at an unrelated news conference in City Hall on Thursday, adding that he hoped the system would be changed. “What’s important is to follow every law, every rule, and to have a very consistent vetting process. That’s what we do.”
Details of the 90-minute fund-raiser that had been scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. have been kept under wraps. Fairness PAC spokesperson Michael Casca said he is “not going into details of private fund-raisers. The mayor is continuing his hard work to elect progressive candidates and make bold change all over the country.”
However one invitee described the invitation’s contents, and said it came from Suffolk’s CEO John F. Fish. Fish in December donated $5,000 — the maximum contribution amount — to de Blasio’s political action committee, the NYT says records show.
“Suffolk is proud to be making strides in the New York region by introducing clients to more sophisticated planning and construction technologies and delivery methods,” Suffolk spokesperson Sam Spokony told the NYT. The company did not respond to questions about the fund-raiser.
In the last two years, Fish has contributed $2.2 million to political campaigns, mostly to elect Democrats to federal office, according to federal filings.
Suffolk has been seeking to increase its presence in New York City.
The NYT report concluded with this paragraph:
Among its projects, the company recently completed construction of an apartment tower in Brooklyn Bridge Park, a development that included city-subsidized affordable housing. And the company’s website featured a panoramic aerial shot of the Brooklyn waterfront and Lower Manhattan on its main page as of Thursday (April 4).