This is kind of interesting. New York State Senator Jose Peralta, whose district in Queens includes the possible future site of an MLS stadium and the league’s 20th team—a development Peralta supports—has received some political donations from some MLS employees, including Don Garber.
The kicker, as it were? Peralta, who is running for borough president next year, didn’t declare these donations as required to Queen’s Campaign Finance board.
The same is true of the plan to bring a Major League Soccer stadium to the park. Boosters like Mr. Peralta and local Assemblyman Francisco Moya argued it will provide jobs and a jump start to the local economy. Detractors fear the stadium will displace parkland that won’t be readily replaced.
MLS’ contributions to Mr. Peralta were relatively small, though somewhat hidden from view. Typically, donors list their occupations on the forms, though MLS Commissioner Don Garber, legal counsel Brett Lashbrook and MLS President Mark Abbott all left the occupation section blank. Each person donated $320, totaling $960, a tiny bit of the $134,680 that Mr. Peralta has raised thus far. They did not donate to any other candidates. MLS spokeswoman Risa Heller declined to comment on the various donations, as did the Mets.
The funds are paltry, but the $320 isn’t arbitrary. It’s the max amount an individual can donate if they’re “doing business with the city.” As this site makes clear:
“The designation caps contributions from individuals with a monetary interest in the outcome of decisions made by city officials, and are not subject to public matching funds, which will be doled out in August when ballots are set.”
It’s clear MLS went out of its way not to be noticed handing money to a guy who has come in early support of an idea, pending confirmation any lost parkland in the area would be replaced. Most of the other borough president candidates want more information, particularly whether MLS would get a rumoured tax break on the stadium.
Peralta still has time to amend their campaign contribution filings to include the sources and avoid a penalty, according to this source.