Comrie Denies He Is Challenging Landmarks Law to Fill Campaign Coffers

comrielander Comrie Denies He Is Challenging Landmarks Law to Fill Campaign Coffers

Councilmen Comrie and Lander, the two to beat on Landmarks. (Landmarks! West)

Is there a war on against the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission? That is what preservationists fear, and there is some concern this is not simply about development issues, but also electoral politics.

According to DNAinfo, Councilman LeRoy Comrie could stand to win funds for his ailing campaign coffers if pro-development, anti-preservation proposals move forward.

“Clearly, several of these bills were directly influenced by developers and the powerful real estate lobby that are looking to destroy the ability of the Landmarks Preservation Commission to do its job: to protect the architecture and heritage of the City of New York,” [Queens State Senator Tony] Avella said.

Comrie is widely believed to be mounting a run for Queens Borough President, but had raised just $9,000 as of the latest filing period. That’s significantly less than rival Peter Vallone Jr., who had raised more than $1 million, including large contributions from members of the real estate industry.

Comrie’s office denies these allegations. “This is to help people,” a spokesman said. “There’s no ulterior motive.” The biggest concern for the Councilman is that historic districts continue to expand across the city that they do not adversely impact homeowners abilities to maintain their properties.

Whatever the cause, it is a reminder of the powerful influence, perhaps unmatched by any other interest group, that the real estate lobby in the city. Is the landmarks commission up to the challenge?

mchaban@observer.com