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Power 100

Power 100

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Published by NewYorkObserver
The Commercial Observer Power 100 2012
The Commercial Observer Power 100 2012

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Published by: NewYorkObserver on Apr 02, 2013
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08/07/2013

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   m   a   r   k   h   a   m   m   e   r   m   e   i   s   t   e   r
The Most Powerful People in New York Real Estate
mark hollidayScott rechlerGary BarnettdouGlaS durStandrew cuomo
A SPECIAL SECTION BY
THE COMMERCIAL OBSERVER
MAY 14, 2012
 
2 | May 14, 2012
   D   a   v   i   D    S   u   n   D   b   e   r   g   /   e   S   t   o
BY JOTHAM SEDERSTROM
During the final months of his 2010 campaign for governor,Andrew Cuomo, the former UnitedStates Secretary of Housing andUrban Development, found him-self high above Manhattan, sittingacross a table from Stephen Ross.To most political analysts andvoters, Mr. Cuomo’s gubernato-rial ascendance was already aforegone conclusion, thanks, per-haps, to the precision of an innercircle jam-packed with believersplucked from HUD and the attor-ney general’s office, yes, but also toa thick core of purple-veined vet-erans tied to dad Mario’s 11-yearreign. News a year earlier thatPresident Obama secretly imploredMr. Cuomo’s predecessor, DavidPaterson, to withdraw from therace—followed later by indicationsthat his Republican opponent CarlPaladino was beginning to unrav-el—hardly hurt the frontrunner’smomentum.And so it was with consider-able wind beneath his wings, andgoodwill to burn, that Mr. Cuomorode an elevator to the top of 60Columbus Circle, the building Mr.Ross and his Related Companiesdeveloped against considerableodds seven years earlier, near theapex of the real estate bubble. Yetdespite an approval rating of 61percent, the all-but-certain gover-nor-in-waiting still faced one lastforce: the Real Estate Board of NewYork and 20 members of its execu-tive committee.“These were all principals,”said one person familiar with thegathering. “And it was obvious toeverybody there that he was goingto be governor. The race was over.”The meeting drew the city’smost important names in real es-tate, not least of all Leonard Litwin,the 97-year-old billionaire who lastyear poured more cash into NewYork’s political coffers than any-one else in the state, including$76,000 to Mr. Cuomo. Others in-cluded Douglas Durst, whose Bankof America Tower had recentlysnagged the country’s first-everLEED Platinum certification for anoffice building, and Burt Resnick,the heir to his dad’s 85-year-old,family-owned real estate empire.Yet despite whatever combinedwealth filled that room, or whichaccolades dizzied equilibriums, orwhat euphoria the soon-to-be gov-ernor provoked, it was Mr. Ross,REBNY’s chairman emeritus,who controlled the room that day.Indeed, before the committee mem-bers could object, Messrs. Ross andCuomo had already vanished.“And so we’re sitting there withno Steve Ross and no GovernorCuomo for at least a half an hour—if not more—and then finally SteveRoss ushers the governor into theroom,” recalled another attendee,who spoke on the condition of ano-nymity. “It was probably about 45minutes—his own private meet-ing—while all of us people who hadthought we were pretty importantsat there and basically just held ourheels.”“And so,” added the executivecommittee member, after a shortpause and a stiff laugh, “we contin-ued to hold Steve Ross in the highesteem that we’ve always had.”What so impressed (or, perhaps,riled) Mr. Ross’s contemporariesthat day wasn’t the length of timethe Detroit native spent whisper-ing into Mr. Cuomo’s ear—thoughthat no doubt hammered home thepoint—but, rather, the specter of what glorious chits such an inti-mate chat with the future governormight one day bring. (That CityCouncil Speaker Christine Quinneventually helped carved a portion
‘Then fnally Steve Rossushers the governor into theroom. It was probably about 45 minutes—his own pri-vate meeting—while all o us people who had thought wewere pretty important sat there and basically just heldour heels.’ 
 
May 14, 2012 | 3

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