ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York attorney general candidate Eric Schneiderman took $10,000 in donations from a city condo developer who unsuccessfully sued current state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office this year, records show.
Gary Barnett, president of Extell Development Co., made the donation to Schneiderman in the last days of a heated five-way Democratic primary battle for the state's AG post, according to campaign contribution records. The primary election is Tuesday.
According to the New York Daily News, Extell filed a federal lawsuit in May claiming that Cuomo unconstitutionally ordered a $16 million refund to 41 condo owners at the 41-story Rushmore building on the city's West Side. The AG's office has the power to settle such payment disputes between developers and condo owners, the Daily News said.
According to the newspaper, Cuomo's office handled 475 such disputes last year, up from 58 in 2007.
Schneiderman campaign spokesman James Freedland told the Daily News on Monday that the dispute between Extell and Cuomo's office was resolved after a federal judge ruled in favor of Cuomo.
"In the event that Extell elects to appeal the matter, we will return this contribution in order to avoid even the appearance of impropriety," Freedland said of the donation.
In Tuesday's primary, Schneiderman faces Democratic Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, former prosecutor Sean Coffey, former state Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. Rice is believed to be the frontrunner in the primary race.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.