ALBANY — Mayor de Blasio’s campaign and progressive groups are calling on Republican mayoral challenger Nicole Malliotakis to return a donation from embattled billionaire charter-school investor Dan Loeb.
The calls came days after Loeb made headlines with a since-deleted Facebook post accusing state Senate Democratic Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who is black, of having done “more damage to people of color than anyone who has ever donned a hood” by supporting public teacher unions over charter schools.
Loeb in August gave Malliotakis’ mayoral campaign a maximum donation of $4,900.
Given the recent controversy, de Blasio’s campaign and the Working Families Party that supports him called on the Staten Island Republican assemblywoman to return the money.
“Her biggest supporters are the billionaires behind (President) Trump and Breitbart news and the guy who thinks standing up for public schools is worse than the KKK,” said de Blasio campaign spokesman Dan Levitan. “These are things all New Yorkers should reject.”
Added Bill Lipton, Working Families Party state director: “When you’re running to lead an incredibly diverse school system with more than a million kids, saying his comments are just ‘inappropriate’ is not enough. She needs to take a stand and return his money immediately.”
Malliotakis campaign spokesman Rob Ryan said she has no intention of returning the money.
“We are glad Mr. Loeb apologized for what he said,” Ryan said.
He added that Malliotakis agrees with a recent newspaper editorial that took Loeb to task for his statements while also chiding Democrats for putting the interest of the powerful teacher unions and the mega donations they give ahead of charter schools that serve underprivileged kids.