Political Arena

Conservative hotelier donates to Cabrera


A Dallas businessman who once told his local newspaper he’s interested in “liberty-loving and conservative legislation, no matter who gets it done” may have finally found a Democrat he can support: Fernando Cabrera.

Monty Bennett, the chair of hotel developer Ashford Inc., has dipped into the city council elections in New York, writing a check for the maximum $2,750 to Cabrera’s campaign through his MJB Operating LP. 

Bennett has been quite politically active in the past, donating both to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in the last presidential election cycle, and once dumped more than $200,000 to fight a proposed water pipeline rerouting near his Texas ranch.

The money was part of more than $20,300 Cabrera raised in the most recent campaign finance cycle that ended May 11, allowing him to outpace his three challengers. 

The Bronx incumbent has raised nearly $65,000 now, nearly double that of Felix Perdomo who loaned his campaign $25,000 this cycle.

The contribution, joined with others including one from the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council union, allowed him to stay ahead of Justin Sanchez, who raised more than $16,600 this cycle. 

Anthony Springer, Cabrera’s campaign treasurer, told The Press he didn’t know exactly what the relationship between Cabrera and Bennett was, and would “really have to talk to him and get back to you.” However, neither Springer nor Cabrera offered additional comment.

Neither did Bennett, who was reached through a public relations company in New York.

Bennett has been a strong voice against short-term lodging services like Airbnb, recently touting a news report on his personal Twitter feed where two New York City-based hosts were fined $1,000 each for listing short-term rentals on the site. 

Neither Bennett nor MJB Operating have contributed to any other city campaigns so far, according to campaign finance records. 


Klein answers protest with protest

State Sen. Jeff Klein has faced some flak over the Independent Democratic Conference since nearly the moment he created it. But in recent days, his breakaway group of Democrats in the state senate has suffered renewed fire over how three members of the caucus — Sens. Diane Savino, Jose Peralta and David Valesky — were paid stipends for leadership roles in the senate they reportedly do not actually hold. 

Rise and Resist, an activist group that has protested the IDC in the past, spent Friday protesting in front of Klein’s office at 1250 Waters Place. However, the senator was ready for them, staging a counter-protest of his own.

A number of Klein supporters took their place in front of his office Friday as well, holding signs like “Our future shines with Sen. Jeff Klein” as well as “the IDC is right for me,” according to a release. 

The people organized in support of Klein numbers in the “hundreds,” according to the same release, while claiming the Rise and Resist protesters were just 30 people, with the majority “from out-of-district.”


Diaz raises lots of money, but why?

Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr., has raised yet another $124,000 this past campaign financing quarter, bringing his election war chest to just under $1.2 million.

The question, however, is what is he raising money for? 

Diaz has yet to announce whether he’ll run for another term as borough president, or if he might actually challenge Bill de Blasio for the mayor’s office. de Blasio is considered vulnerable by many political observers, and it’s been reported in the past the relationship between de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not very strong. 

If Diaz did run, he would try to do what no other Bronx borough president has been able to do before him — win a citywide election for the top spot. Fernando Ferrer, who held Diaz’s job between 1987 and 2001, tried twice to win the office in the early 2000s, but didn’t succeed. 

The late Herman Badillo, borough president in the late 1960s, ran for mayor six times between 1969 and 2001.