Donor list for Sept. 11 memorial released

/ Source: The Associated Press

The foundation building the Sept. 11 memorial on Friday made public a list of its largest donors, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg with a $15 million pledge and many of the city’s biggest banks, developers, politicians and philanthropists.

The donation by Bloomberg — a billionaire who is leading the memorial fundraising drive — is by far the biggest by a politician. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has made his response to Sept. 11 a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, has donated between $20,000 and $60,000 to the memorial since last October.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer, through a family foundation, donated $2 million, as did New Jersey Gov. Jon. Corzine. Former Gov. George Pataki pledged between $5,000 and $20,000, according to the report.

Actor Robert De Niro, who founded the Tribeca Film Festival and is a foundation board member, gave from $20,000 to $60,000.

Bloomberg took over fundraising for the Sept. 11 memorial last October and is credited with raising more than $100 million.

More than $300 million raised so far
The foundation has raised over $300 million for the memorial and Sept. 11 museum, which will cost well over $700 million to build. “Reflecting Absence,” which sets twin reflecting pools over the spots where the fallen twin towers stood, is expected to open in 2009.

The mayor had to release the list of the project’s largest donors because the city’s Conflict of Interest board requires public officials who solicit donations to disclose any gift over $5,000.

The billionaire mayor, who earlier pledged $10 million to the memorial, raised his gift in recent months. Deutsche Bank AG and philanthropist David Rockefeller also donated $15 million each. The largest donor to the memorial, the Starr Foundation at $25 million, announced its pledge long ago.

More than 10 companies that lost employees in the attacks that destroyed the trade center pledged money, although the Cantor Fitzgerald LP bond brokerage and its chief executive, foundation board member Howard Lutnick, have not.

The company lost 658 employees, more than any other, on Sept. 11, but Lutnick and several family members and law enforcement unions have lobbied to list the names of the dead differently than is planned around the memorial, noting the victims’ ages, the tower floor they died on and the company they worked for.

The city’s main fire and police unions are also not listed as giving $5,000 or more, although two law enforcement unions for the trade center’s owner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, each gave gifts of under $100,000.

Developers dig into their pockets
Many major developers building huge projects in the city gave millions: Forest City Ratner Cos., in charge of the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, and trade center developer Larry Silverstein each gave $5 million.

Utilities Consolidated Edison Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. gave $10 million each. So did eight companies and banks with ties to downtown Manhattan, including Merrill Lynch & Co., American Express Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The New York Yankees and the New York Mets each donated at least $1 million; Cablevision Systems Corp., which owns the New York Knicks and New York Rangers, gave $500,000.

The report to the city listed 17 anonymous donors, one who gave at least $2 million.

The conflict of interest board also bans officials from overseeing government dealings with major donors.

In a letter to the conflict-of-interest board, special counsel to the mayor Anthony Crowell said that two of the donors “have business dealings with the executive branch of city government.” But Bloomberg and first deputy mayor Patricia Harris, also a foundation board member, “have not exercised any decision making role with regard to these business matters,” Crowell said.