The race to replace term-limited Coney Councilman Domenic Recchia is getting real … estate.
Candidate John Lisyanskiy bashed his Democratic primary rival Mark Treyger for accepting the endorsement of a powerful real estate lobbying group — and accused Treyger of being an opportunistic pawn of Assemblyman Bill Colton (D–Bensonhurst).
Lisyanskiy alleged that the Real Estate Board of New York — a coalition of wealthy developers — endorsed Treyger as part of a larger plan to gentrify working-class Coney Island. The former aide to Council Speaker Christine Quinn warned that, if elected, Treyger would be a “yes-man puppet” to the powerful land interests currently re-shaping the People’s Playground.
“Real estate tycoons have had their greedy eyes set on Coney Island for decades,” said Lisyanskiy. “Seaside residents are in constant danger of being uprooted by developers who would love nothing more than to sweep away communities to make room for swanky developments.”
Lisyanskiy also blasted his rival for having moved out of the district, only to return just in time to run for the Council seat. The Community Board 13 member argued that Treyger — who bought a house in Bergen Beach with his wife in 2012, then sold it this year — had shown a lack of dedication to the district covering Bensonhurst, Coney Island, Seagate, and Gravesend.
The Ukrainian-born candidate also claimed that Treyger’s longtime employer, Assemblyman Colton, is the real force driving his opponent’s campaign. Lisyanskiy pointed out that Colton has had an ongoing feud with Recchia (D–Coney Island), and asserted that the state legislator is attempting to install Treyger in the seat to extend his own power.
“He is looking to install one of his own puppets that he can control,” Lisyanskiy said of Colton. “People need to see that and understand that, and select the most qualified person — not someone who is handpicked by an elected official and special interests.”
Treyger brushed off Lisyanskiy’s attacks, pointing out that he has also received endorsements from other business groups and from several unions. The Bensonhurst native said he had been involved with issues in the district for years, and ladled praise upon Colton.
“I am willing to put my longtime record in this district — where I was born, raised, and live, up against any other candidate in this race,” Treyger said. “I am especially proud to have the support of my close friend, Assemblyman Bill Colton, who I consider to be the gold standard of community service and dedication.”
Colton denied pulling the strings in Treyger’s campaign, saying he was surprised in March when his former spokesman expressed interest in running for the seat.
“He is no way a puppet. He has been involved in issues because he believes in them,” the pol said. “When he indicated to me he had an interest in running for city council, I told him he should do it.”
A spokesman for the Real Estate Board denied his organization had sinister designs upon Coney Island, and said it had endorsed Treyger because it believed he would create a good environment for business.
“We back Mark Treyger for one reason and one reason only: He is the candidate most likely to create jobs and economic opportunities for the people of the 47th Council District,” the spokesman said.
The Real Estate Board is not the only development interest backing Treyger. Louis Jerome — whose family owns a number of Manhattan properties and the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City — has thrown the weight of his recently-formed Small Business Coalition behind Treyger. The Coalition, which includes a number of southern Brooklyn businesses, has launched an extensive phone and door-to-door operation backing the 30-year-old — vowing to ring 10,000 Democratic doorbells and 20,000 Democratic phones on his behalf. A source at the Coalition echoed the Real Estate Board’s comments about Treyger’s economic outlook.
“We’ve made District 47 a top priority for the Coalition because we think that Mark Treyger is the clear pro-small-business candidate,” the insider said.
Jerome considered running for the Coney seat himself, but backed out to form the Coalition.
Lisyanskiy clashed in February with another candidate for the soon-to-be-vacant council seat, neighborhood activist Todd Dobrin, whom Lisyanskiy called “an empty suit.”