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A look at New York’s 10 biggest lobbying spenders in 2022

A group working to crush anti-eviction legislation, a politically muscular trial lawyers association and the dominant developer in the area near Penn Station were New York City’s three largest lobbying spenders last year, according to a government analysis.

The 17th annual lobbying bureau report from the City Clerk’s office found lobbyists scored more than $121 million in the city in 2022, a total that spiked more than 16% after slipping across two pandemic years.

The report arrived as a high-stakes casino bidding process begins in the city, and after Vornado Realty Trust plunged into a development project near Penn Station.

Mayor Eric Adams takes questions after a press conference  on Feb. 14, 2023, in The Bronx, New York.

The report underscores oppositional pressure being exerted as liberal state lawmakers work to pass the so-called Good Cause Eviction bill, which would ban the non-renewal of residential leases without good cause.

Here’s a look at New York City’s 10 biggest lobbying spenders last year, according to the clerk’s office.

1. Homeowners for an Affordable New York — $1.4 million

This landlord-backed group, which is opposed to Good Cause Eviction legislation, spent almost $1.4 million last year on New York City lobbying, according to the clerk’s office.

On its website, the group declares that good cause legislation would lead to “higher property taxes, fewer quality homes and impossible burdens on property owners.”

A bill that would ban eviction without good cause was first introduced in the state Senate in January 2019. Gov. Hochul has so far declined to support the legislation. Mayor Adams has not taken a position.

Gov. Kathy Hochul takes questions from the media on Jan. 19, 2023 in Manhattan, New York.

2. New York State Trial Lawyers Association — $743,000

The Manhattan-based New York State Trial Lawyers Association retained its perch in the top 10 list, moving up one spot from a year ago while spending roughly the same amount, according to the clerk’s office.

In the past, the association has been linked to possible violations of political fund-raising rules. The group, which claims some 3,500 members, has donated to Republicans and Democrats.

3. Vornado Realty — $730,000

Vornado disbursed roughly $730,000 to five lobbying firms last year, according to the report. The developer said this winter that it was pausing its ambitious development project near Penn Station, citing economic conditions.

Vornado is still exploring a plan to put a casino at the site of the Hotel Pennsylvania, the century-old hotel across the street from Penn Station that is currently undergoing demolition.

People prepare to enter Penn Station on May 28, 2021, in New York City.

4. Charter Communications — $570,000

Charter Communications, branded as Spectrum, remained in the top five this year, paying out six-digit figures to four different lobbying firms, according to the clerk’s office. Charter also owns the 30-year-old news station Spectrum News NY1.

5. Northwell Health — $548,000

The state’s largest private health care network paid six lobbying firms last year, according to the report. The system said it serves more than 2 million New Yorkers annually.

The Northwell Healthcare building on May 5, 2020, in New Hyde Park, New York.

6. The Civil Rights Foundation — $520,000

The Civil Rights Foundation aims to bring a civil rights museum to Harlem. The group is chaired by the Rev. Al Sharpton and Jonathan Lippman, a former chief judge of New York State’s top court.

7. Reynolds American Inc. Services — $441,000

This giant tobacco company paid six lobbying firms last year, the report said. Last year, Hochul signed legislation expanding the areas where smoking is banned.

The governor is now facing heat over a plan to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes and to lift tax rates on smoke packs.

8. Steve Cohen’s New Green Willets — $437,000

New Green Willets was apparently created to lobby local officials as Steve Cohen works to develop the area of Queens around Citi Field, the home of his Mets baseball club.

In November, the mayor outlined a plan to put a soccer stadium, a hotel and more than 2,000 affordable housing units at Willets Points, near Citi Field.

Recently, Cohen has been hosting listening sessions on possible future projects, including a potential casino bid, for a 50-acre space near the ballpark.

Mets owner Steve Cohen outside Citi Field.

9. DoorDash — $416,000

DoorDash, a California-based food delivery service, has fought a city plan to lift pay for delivery workers. The plan has not yet been finalized.

10. Eisenbeiss Realty —$407,000

This mysterious company paid Greenberg Traurig, a powerhouse corporate law firm, more than $400,000 in connection with its efforts to get a block in Brooklyn rezoned, according to records filed with the clerk’s office.

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