Exodus of pricey Glenwood Management lobbying firms

Glenwood drops six of seven lobbyists it had on its payroll last year

By Chris Bragg

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Glenwood Management, the Manhattan luxury real estate giant whch was a key player in the corruption cases against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, is no longer using six of the seven high-priced firms it retained for lobbying in 2015, records show.

Glenwood’s squad of lobbyists, which were paid $900,000 in 2014, now includes only the New York City firm Pitta Bishop Del Giorno, which focuses on New York City issues for the company.

Six others are now "terminated," state lobbying records show.

Formerly the state’s biggest political donor, Glenwood in recent months has been cutting far fewer checks from its slew of limited liability companies.

Both its lobbying and campaign spending has given Glenwood outsized clout in the Legislature over issues such as rent regulation and tax breaks for developers — two items which were up for renewal in the 2015 legislative session, which ended in June.

One of the lobbyists no longer working for Glenwood is Brian Meara, who had been making $10,000 a month in its service.

Meara received a non-prosecution agreement from federal prosecutors in the successful case against Silver, and testified during the trial. Meara’s business partner, Mike Avella, surfaced in the Skelos trial. Another Glenwood lobbyist, Richard Runes (who was paid $10,000 a month), also testified in the Silver case.

None of the lobbyists were charged with wrongdoing.

Also no longer working for Glenwood are Mark Lieberman ($7,500 a month) and Francis Sanzillo ($15,000). These firms stopped work for Glenwood at the end of December when their contracts expired, according to records.

Albany-based State & Broadway ($7,000 a month) stopped working for Glenwood in June, as did Empire Strategic Planning, the firm of ex-state Sen. Nick Spano ($12,000), though its original contract ran though December.

A Glenwood representative could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Silver and Skelos were convicted late last year on corruption charges brought by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara.

Glenwood Senior Vice President Charles Dorego was given a non-prosecution agreement by Bharara in exchange for his assistance in the case against Skelos. Prosecutors also named 101-year-old Glenwood principal Leonard Litwin a co-conspirator during a sidebar conference in the Skelos trial, according to The New York Times.

Neither Glenwood nor any of its employees have been charged.

In both the Silver and Skelos cases, the lawmakers were convicted of concocting schemes in which the developer would enrich them, or their families, in exchange for favorable treatment on one or several of the key issues Glenwood has before the Legislature.

A number of the lobbyists terminated by Glenwood continue to work for a publishing company with seemingly unrelated legislative issues, New York City-based American Lawyer Media.

In 2014, all six high-priced lobbying firms on ALM’s payroll also worked for Glenwood. The connection between the two is not entirely clear, although an ALM spokeswoman last year told the Times Union the company had no business relationship with Glenwood.

Runes’ LinkedIn profile says he is "VP and Counsel for External Affairs" at ALM.


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