Knicks and Rangers owner James Dolan, the chair and CEO of Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp., is behind a new political expenditure committee called “The Coalition to Restore New York,” state filings show.
The group’s web site warns of a return to the “unseemly era of the 1970s and 1980s,” and emphasizes priorities such as bringing back tourism, a business friendly regulatory environment and “access to the best tools and training” for police.
A spokesperson for the committee told THE CITY the recovery of New York from the pandemic is “number one campaign issue” for the upcoming municipal elections.
It marked the latest political foray by Dolan, who gave $106,500 to the Republican National Committee last year, along with several five-figure donations to state GOPs, federal filings show.
While he’s registered to vote on Long Island, he supported GOP candidates Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island and upstate’s Elise Stefanik in their successful runs for Congress last year.
He’s also already given maximum contributions, totaling $12,200, to three Democrats in the crowded New York City mayoral race: banker Ray McGuire, former federal housing official Shaun Donovan and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
Not in the Yang Gang
Likely not high on Dolan’s list of Democratic mayoral hopefuls: former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
Records show Dolan’s committee registered Jan. 15. The day prior, Yang launched his campaign with a website that included a pledge to end tax breaks for the Garden.
“If nothing is done, MSG’s total tax break could be $1 billion by 2030,” Yang’s site reads. “I would support existing legislation in the state capital that finally ends this 38-year long property exemption.”
A spokesperson for Dolan’s committee noted that the paperwork for The Coalition to Restore New York was submitted before Yang’s announcement.
Still, Yang’s campaign saw the new committee as a slap shot across the bow from the head of the Rangers and the perennially beleaguered Knicks.
“Unsurprisingly, Andrew Yang’s plan to save the Knicks has earned him at least one enemy,” his press secretary Jake Sporn told THE CITY.
Dolan was the highest-paid CEO in the media sector during the 2019 fiscal year, with a compensation package worth $54.1 million, according to an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
An MSG spokesperson said Dolan voluntarily relinquished one-time equity awards as part of a lawsuit settlement, bringing his 2019 compensation to $14 million.
Dolan told the New York Post in September that he planned to help “balance the scales” against Democrats.
“I think we’re going to start taking more aggressive positions, particularly in New York politics,” he said.
“New York is really a one-party city, particularly the city, I don’t think that’s healthy democracy,” Dolan added. “I think that you will see us be very pro-two party democracy.”
Dolan couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday. But the spokesperson for his new committee released a statement:
“The goal of The Coalition to Restore New York is to make the recovery of New York City the number one campaign issue for this year’s elections, giving voters a voice to demand that each candidate has a responsible plan to address New York City’s problems — a plan that prioritizes the city’s economic revitalization and improves the lives of all New Yorkers.”