Contributors wait to hear from him

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner used $1 million in member item cash to fund a study to reduce sound from the Long Island Rail Road track that runs near his apartment in Forest Hills Gardens Corp.
By Howard Koplowitz

Major campaign contributors of embattled U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) are tight-lipped as to whether they will continue to support the scandal-scarred congressman, while others are taking a wait-and-see approach.

“I have not given any thought to what I’m going to be doing in the future because, obviously, I need to hear Anthony’s plans for the future,” said Weiner donor and Manhattan attorney Lawrence Buttwieser, who has given $13,000 to the congressman’s campaign account since 1998.

Manhattan accountant Evan Bell, who gave more than $11,000 to Weiner’s campaigns, said the congressman let him and others down.

“The situation is dire,” Bell said. “It’s really unfortunate. It’s a smart person doing a very stupid thing. He made some serious errors but he made a great congressman.”

Bell said he contributed to Weiner, in part, because he saw in the 46-year-old lawmaker “a lot of future potential” and said he would have made a good mayor.

Bell said if Weiner decides to stick it out, he will support him “financially and emotionally.”

Robert Nelson, owner of the Forest Hills-based Nelson Management Group, which owns apartment buildings, said he was unsure whether he will continue to back Weiner.

“I haven’t thought about it,” said Nelson, who has given $4,125 to Weiner’s campaign.

Other major contributors, including the powerful Queens Mattone family of developers and lawyers, declined to comment on the Weiner scandal.

More than 5,000 donors have given contributions to Weiner, who began his first term in the House in 1999 and is a protege of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who was Weiner’s predecessor in the same seat.

Weiner’s contributors include Hollywood heavyweights director Rob Reiner and Bob Weinstein, a Flushing native who owns the movie production company The Weinstein Group with his brother, Harvey.

Other donors include New York Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon and “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart, a college friend of Weiner’s.

Even Queens organizations which received money from Weiner would not speak about the licentious legislator.

Weiner has used his congressional member items to fund a $1 million to study sound mitigation for the Long Island Rail Road near his Forest Hills home and earmarked $540,000 for Queens College for different student programs. Weiner also gave Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services, which has an office in Far Rockaway, a total of roughly $2.5 million in 2009 and 2010.

Another recipient of cash two consecutive years was the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which got roughly $2.3 million for projects like studying the Jamaica Bay ecosystem.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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