Former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley leads the Queens borough president candidates in fundraising

Max Parrott/QNS

With just over two months to go before the Queens borough president special election on March 24, disclosures published by the New York City Campaign Finance Board (NYCCFB) last week provided a fiscal snapshot of where each of the candidates stand. 

The filings singled out one clear breadwinner. Out of the $284,157 that the candidates have collectively raked in over the past six months, former Ridgewood Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley topped the field in fundraising. She also boasted the most cash on hand out of the group.

Councilman Donovan Richards has done the second most fundraising over the past six months, but has only raised about half as much as Crowley.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who abruptly announced Tuesday morning that he will be dropping out of the race due to family circumstances, is a close second to Crowley when it comes to cash on hand, but only after he transferred nearly $200,000 he had left over from his 2017 City Council run. He will leave the race with $203,185 worth of campaign cash.

The fundraising totals compiled by the New York City Campaign Finance Board over the past six months from greatest to least are as follows:

  • Crowley has raised $104,797 since July 15 and has $219,894 to spend. 
  • Richards has raised $58,384 since July 15 and has $126,758 to spend.
  • Retired NYPD sergeant Anthony Miranda has raised $39,970 since July 15 and has $13,768 to spend.
  • Dao Yin, a robotics company executive, has raised $32,466 and has $8,581 to spend. 
  • Councilman Costa Constantinides raised $19,507 since July 15 and has $14,348 to spend.
  • Former Assistant District Attorney Jim Quinn raised $11,498 prior to the deadline, but reportedly has burned through it all. According to the filings, he’s in the red by $632. 
  • Mapmaker Danniel Maio cut himself a check for $175 and spent $90 of it, leaving him $85 in his campaign coffers.

Since all eight candidates have opted in to the NYCCFB’s matching program, they have agreed not to accept a donation larger than $750. Since the legislation dictates that they receive 8-1 match for all donations under this limit, several candidates have had to refund large chunks of their donations. 

A few notably large donations are included in those refunds, which date back before the City Council revised the matching program limits for special elections over the summer.

Richards had to refund a $4,100 of a donation to Taxpayers for Affordable New York, a Real Estate Board of New York-affiliated PAC.

Asked for comment, Richards’ spokesperson did not remark on the real estate affiliation, although the councilman has previously stated publicly that he doesn’t believe that his integrity would ever be compromised by donations from the real estate industry — which make up nearly 30 percent of his donations, according to the Real Deal.

“To ensure compliance with the campaign finance board, the excess was returned to the contributor,” the spokesperson said.

Several of Crowley’s largest refunds went back to contributors associated with J.T. Magen & Company, a construction firm that has traditionally relied on union labor. On Jan. 10, 2019, Robert Scheiman, the company’s principal and Maurice Regan, its CEO gave the campaign $3,950. Anticipating the matching program limits, Crowley gave back a total of $6,400 between those donations.

Crowley distinguished the construction-related donations from the real estate industry, which she has vowed not to take donations from. She said the connection goes back to her union days.

“I’m proud of my roots,” Crowley told QNS. “Not only was my union job making sure that I got paid a fair wage, my friends who worked with me 20 years ago are still my supporters.”

Constantinides had to refund $3,600 to Sal Lucchese, a manager at Astoria-based developer The L Group, who gave $4,350 to his campaign in January of 2019. 

Constantinides’ spokesperson did not comment on the donation. But in a previous report on that contribution, the councilman acknowledged taking real estate donations but said that he doesn’t take donations what he defines as “Big Real Estate developers.”

The next campaign finance filing deadline is Feb. 21.

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