Perhaps this is the reason the Empire State Building was willing to light up for two nights in honor of the Democratic National Convention Site Selection Committee, but have continued to snub kids with cancer for one night.
The Empire State Building, despite a policy of not lighting up in support of “political figures and campaigns,” may have bent the rules to honor the DNC because they are owned in part, and contribute heavily to members of the Democrat party.
Money talks – After all, if New York is chosen as the site to host the Democratic National Convention, the city expects to reap hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
But money talks on the other end as well. The Empire State Realty Trust is owned by Democrat fundraisers, Democrat contributors, and a Democrat Senator from Connecticut as well.
First, a little background:
We’ve been covering the #EmpireGoGold social media campaign extensively here at the Mental Recession. Last week, MyFoxNY reported on multiple requests made to the group owning the Empire State Building to honor pediatric cancer victims by lighting up gold for one night in September.
The group refused those requests.
Parents began posting pictures of their loved ones on the Empire State Building Facebook page, only to have those posts and pictures deleted. Social media started getting involved, and an #EmpireGoGold hashtag was created. A petition was also generated to try and pressure the group to ‘Go Gold’ for one night.
The Empire State Building took to social media themselves, calling the campaign to pressure them into lighting up in honor of pediatric cancer victims “abusive.”
They also took a swipe at parents applying for the lighting partnership, saying they are creating a “false pretense that the Empire State Building does not care about children with cancer.” Why? Because the Empire State Building only accepts applications for lighting requests from organizations and not individuals.
The problem with that explanation lies in the fact that three separate ‘organizations’ were rejected for the same lighting request, on official company letterhead.
Many people did not appreciate the tone of the statement, which the Empire State Building eventually pulled from their website but remains on their Facebook and Twitter timelines. Aside from labeling parents of cancer-fighting kids as abusive, it patronized them further by essentially saying that if they “behave responsibly” they might be considered again in 2015.
So what organization pressured the Empire State Building to donate two nights of blue lighting to honor the DNC? None. The dates of August 11th and 12th were not originally on the building’s website calendar when reports of the ‘Go Gold’ push began. They were added within the same week, while thousands of parents on Twitter, Facebook, signing petitions, and talking to the local media, were pleading with the Empire State Building to raise children’s cancer awareness.
Why would they bend the rules for Democrats?
Peter and Anthony Malkin own the Empire State Building and created the Empire State Realty Trust in 2013. Malkin Properties donated $57,300 to political candidates during the 2013-2014 cycle.
The blue portion of the pie graph corresponds to donations made to Democrat candidates. A staggering 92% of those donations went to numerous Democrat candidates. The other contributions were made to a lone Republican candidate in Michael Grimm.
Grimm himself has been willing to stand up to those contributors, saying he “find(s) it offensive that the Empire State Building will not be lit in gold in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.”
Other years weren’t much more bipartisan for the group. In 2010, Malkin Properties donated over $200,000 to political candidates, 100% of which went to Democrats.
The top recipient of contributions in 2010 was Democrat Richard Blumenthal (CT) who received $11,600 from the Malkin group.
More interesting, according to an OpenSecrets analysis, Senator Blumenthal owns shares in Malkin Properties.
From 2009-2012, Malkin Securities and Malkin Holdings donated nearly $15,000 to Blumenthal’s campaign committee.
During a televised debate with Linda McMahon, Blumenthal’s Republican opponent for an open Senate seat in Connecticut, his ownership of the Empire State Building was brought up.
Blumenthal’s wife is Cynthia Malkin, sister of building owner Anthony Malkin, and daughter of owner Peter Malkin.
The Day reported at the time:
A quick review of the attorney general’s most recent financial statement with the Connecticut Office of State Ethics shows that his wife, Cynthia Malkin, indeed has an interest in Empire State Building Associates LLC, which was created in part by her father in 1961, when he and other investors acquired a master lease on the landmark building.
They bought the underlying land in 2002 with a $61 million mortgage, what has likely turned out to be a shrewd investment.
So it turns out it is Blumenthal’s in-laws who own the Empire State Building and a whole lot of other real estate, according to the financial disclosure filing, which does not assign any specific value to the holdings.
With such deep connections to the Democrat party, it’s no wonder that lighting up for the DNC was a no-brainer for owners of the Empire State Building, while families of children with cancer are left in the dark.
Meanwhile, Times Square has stepped up to the plate, agreeing to light up gold to raise awareness of pediatric cancer. Watch the MyFoxNY report below:
If you’d like to get the Empire State Realty Trust’s attention, please click here and sign the petition.