The real estate industry’s main advocacy arm has staffed up with a new executive to lead its ambitious effort to gain more influence in political campaigns. James Whelan, a former Bloomberg administration official and an executive at Muss Development, will run the political and organizing effort at the Real Estate Board of New York, according to three people informed of the hire.
The hire is a significant one for the powerful board, given that it will now have someone working day to day on its burgeoning political efforts. REBNY has said it expects to raise as much as $5 million this year for the efforts, which, at least based on plans from earlier in the year, involved supporting candidates on the Independence Party line in state—mostly state Senate—elections.
Mr. Whelan is an experienced and well-connected political operator who led strategy for the Bloomberg administration on many of its economic devlopmenrt efforts, including the bid for a West Side stadium and a renegotiation of the World Trade Center deal in 2006.