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Soon after a stop-work order had been lifted on a hotel and condominium project in Brooklyn Bridge Park, a developer got a phone call.
It was Mayor Bill de Blasio, hitting up the developer for a donation to his political nonprofit group, the Campaign for One New York.
The developer, Toll Brothers, donated $25,000 to the mayor’s nonprofit in April 2015, a month after the mayor’s call.
Around the same time, two other developers with business pending before the city, Brookfield Financial Properties and Greenpoint Landing Developers, were also urged by the mayor or his representatives to donate money to his nonprofit. The companies gave $50,000 each.
The donations were examined as part of federal and state investigations into Mr. de Blasio’s fund-raising practices. Those inquiries ended with no criminal charges filed against the mayor, who is now a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president.
But the donations and the mayor’s fund-raising practices are also the basis of an inquiry by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, a state body that on Thursday announced that it had reached settlements with the three developers for potential violations of New York’s Lobbying Act.
The regulation precludes lobbyists and their clients from “giving gifts to a public official or to third parties on behalf of or at the designation or recommendation of a public official,” according to the commission.
All three companies had hired lobbyists to lobby New York City at the time of the donations.
Toll Brothers agreed to pay $15,000; Brookfield Financial Properties agreed to pay $30,000; and Greenpoint Landing Developers, a limited liability company affiliated with Park Tower Group, agreed to pay $20,000.
The penalties came after the commission reached related settlements with James F. Capalino, one of the city’s top lobbyists, and New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, an animal rights organization.
“The commission’s investigation relating to donations to C.O.N.Y. is continuing,” the commission said in a statement.
Freddi Goldstein, the mayor’s press secretary, said that the Campaign for One New York’s fund-raising had been “thoroughly investigated” by the state ethics commission, and that the panel had yet to find that Mr. de Blasio “violated the law.”
The project in Brooklyn Bridge Park had been halted because it had exceeded the height limit; a lawsuit challenging the height of the development, called Pierhouse, was unsuccessful.
Kira Sterling, the chief marketing officer for Toll Brothers, said the company agreed to the $15,000 payment because the ethics commission “determined that our contribution did not comply with its regulations.” Ms. Sterling said the company cooperated with the investigation.
The two other developers did not respond to a request for comment.
The Campaign for One New York, now shuttered, was created by Mr. de Blasio and his supporters to push for universal prekindergarten; it was later used to support his political agenda.
According to a report from the New York City Department of Investigation, Mr. de Blasio and his intermediaries solicited donations from individuals and companies with business before the city.
The mayor and his chief fund-raiser for the nonprofit met in person for 20 minutes with a developer from Park Tower Group in early 2015, as the company was negotiating details with the city for a large housing development in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
The mayor’s fund-raising efforts for his presidential campaign have also come under scrutiny. Many of Mr. de Blasio’s donations have come from the Hotel Trades Council, a labor union that endorsed the mayor. Mr. de Blasio has endorsed the idea of a special permit for hotel development, one of the group’s top priorities, calling it a “very community-friendly policy.”
“This is exactly why we have been hammering ad nauseam that people with business before the city should have limits as to what you can give, not only to the campaign but for nonprofits,” said Betsy Gotbaum, the executive director of Citizens Union, a good government group.
The City Council passed limits in 2016 on how much money individuals with business before the city could donate to political nonprofits.
Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, a preservation group, said the Toll Brothers building in Brooklyn Bridge Park has had a “visible impact” on the views of the bridge.
“Any instance of graft sends a message,” he said. “It is the clearest expression of inequality.”
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