Cabán Gets Big Money Help For Her “People-Powered” Campaign

Queens Borough President Melinda katz

Public defender Tiffany Cabán may lead the way with individual small donor contributors in the Queens Queens District Attorney race, but she also received help from major players, according to the New York State Board of Elections, which released campaign filings today.

Public Defender Tiffany Caban

Cabán’s campaign had 2,539 individual contributors, who raised $215,496.21 in funds to the public defender who had a total of $256,673.41 in contributions.

At least $65,000 of Caban’s total fundraising comes from the ultra-wealthy people including:

-$35,000 from Patty Quillin (philanthropist and wife of Netflix billionaire Reed Hastings).
-$20,000 from Michael Novogratz (hedge fund billionaire).
-$10,000 from Liz Simons (board member of the Marshall Project, wife of a major investor and a daughter of a hedge fund manager).
-$1,000 from Deborah Sagner (philanthropist and daughter of real estate magnate Alan Sagner).

Caban’s team received donations from 2,539 transactions, but many of her donors split their donations into small amounts, some donating multiple times a day. Over 60 people donated four or more times, including members of her staff, Ralph Castillo and Alon Gur.

Caban’s spokeswoman Monica Klein said, “This is what a people-powered movement looks like. Tiffany’s the only public defender in this race, and that’s why thousands of grassroots supporters are rallying behind her campaign to decriminalize poverty, end cash bail, and stop mass incarceration of black and brown communities.”

The remaining contributions from Cabán’s campaign mostly come from progressive organizations like the San Francisco-based Real Justice PAC and elected officials like Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), which have provided $8,000 and $1,000 respectively towards her run for DA.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

Meanwhile, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz had 300 individual donors provide $318,000 and 60 corporate donors provide $94,000 in funds to her campaign, which had a total of $1,419,243.78. Her largest business donor was the Greater New York Auto Dealer Association in Whitestone, which contributed $12,000 to her candidacy.

Some of Katz’s other funds included donations from the New York Trades Council and a committee on political education, which each provided $26,000 towards her campaign.

“The District Attorney should work on behalf of the entire Borough, and we’re proud that Melinda’s message of bringing true criminal justice reform to Queens is resonating strongly with people from Fort Totten to Far Rockaway,” said her spokesman Grant Fox. “After earning endorsements from labor unions like 32BJ SEIU and elected officials like Congressman Greg Meeks and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, this is just the latest sign that Melinda is in the strongest possible position to bring her vision of change to the Queens DA’s office.”

Former Judge Greg Lasak trailed behind Cabán with the second most individual donors. He had 597 local supporters who contributed $294,931 in funds, but he more than made up for that with a war chest of $683,106.73 and $56,562 from 48 corporate donors. Most of his business donors were from law firms, and the others included construction, realty, electric and lumber firms.

Lasak also received funds from several unions including an engineering union in Long Island City that provided $10,000 towards his campaign.

City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) had a bigger reserve than Lasak for his campaign, which started out with an opening balance of $938,330.87. His campaign had $1,346,360.46 total in contributions, including $126,000 from 101 individual donors and $23,250 from corporate donors like jewelry, realty and mostly law firms. He also received $2,500 from the Real Estate Board.

Former Washington D.C. prosecutor Mina Malik had $397,394.81 in total contributions, and 385 individual donors provided $356,925, while realty firms and law firms like the Cochran Firm donated $29,000 towards her candidacy.

One of Malik’s big-time donors included Ronald Sullivan, a lawyer that helped to mount Hollywood honcho Harvey Weinstein’s defense team after the film producer was accused of alleged sexual misconduct and assault.

Sullivan, who has donated $10,000 towards the former prosecutor’s campaign, was given the boot as a dean at Harvard University, which is where she was a lecturer.

Former prosecutors Betty Lugo and José Nieves had the least campaign funds and received the least from corporate donors.

Nieves had $80,032.96 and Lugo had $57,627.16 in total campaign funds respectively.

Nieves had 138 individual donors contributing $32,001.31 to his campaign and Lugo had 48 contribute $41,027.16 to her campaign.

EJ York, a construction company in the Bronx was the sole corporate donor for Lugo, who received $1,500 from them. Nieves received $2,150 in corporate donations, most of which consisted of law firms.

The primary for the Queens District Attorney seat is June 25.

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