Who's Rigging the Rules?

We all deserve to be able to put down roots in the communities we call home. To have the peace of mind that comes with stable, affordable housing. But that simplest of dreams is becoming harder to grasp. Corporate speculators are buying up our neighborhoods. They’re hiking up rents and pushing us out.

While they dismantle our communities, they are using their profits to influence and buy politicians to block common sense laws to keep families from becoming homeless and bring accountability to large corporate landlords by creating protections for renters and opportunities for first-time homebuyers and working families to own homes and build generational wealth.


Which billionaire Trump donor was sued for withholding security deposits from thousands of tenants?

Geoffrey Palmer

Palmer is a Trump mega-donor and billionaire real estate developer who owns over 15,000 apartment units in Southern California. Personally worth $3.1 billion, Palmer lives in a $21 million mansion in Beverly Hills and flies to properties around the world on his private jet. He also allegedly withholds millions of dollars in security deposits from his tenants. A class action lawsuit filed in 2019 estimates that Palmer has illegally withheld deposits from tens of thousands of renters in California.


Which Prop 21 opponent has the United Nations denounced for “wreaking havoc” on tenants’ lives?

The Blackstone Group

This private-equity firm is the largest owner of single-family rental homes in the nation, controlling nearly 13,000 homes in California and $16 billion in properties across the country. In 2019, the United Nations put Blackstone on notice for violating human rights, calling out their practice of buying up rental properties and pushing low-income people out of their homes in order to jack up rents. As the housing crisis worsens, Blackstone’s wealth grows. CEO Stephen Schwarzman is currently worth over $19 billion, a fortune that grew by $2.4 billion since the beginning of the pandemic. He is personally spending tens of millions of dollars to influence numerous election results and directly influence top elected officials, increase rents (Prop 21) and limit taxes (Prop 15) in CA.


Which Trump business partner received $43 million in government subsidies over the last decade?

Vornado Reality Trust

It’s no wonder that this real estate investment trust opposes Prop 15 and spent $250,000 to stop it. Vornado execs aren’t interested in paying their fair share. In fact, they’ve managed to get out of paying millions of dollars in taxes by helping themselves to $43,857,336 in subsidies over the last ten years. Over that time, Vornado has had several joint business ventures with the Trump family.

Geoffrey Palmer is an ardent Trump supporter. When Trump flew to Los Angeles in 2019 and callously accused unhoused people of tarnishing the “prestige” of American cities by sleeping on the “best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings,” he was there for a re-election fundraiser at Geoff Palmer’s Beverly Hills mansion. Palmer became Trump’s biggest donor in 2016 after giving $2 million to a Trump Super PAC. All told, Palmer has now given $14.8 million to campaigns and PACs that back Trump. In fact, Palmer has been using his fortune to grease the political wheels for decades. In the early ‘90s he was charged with 15 counts of illegally laundering campaign contributions. He’s sued the city of Los Angeles to get out of including affordable housing units in his developments, and he’s paid the City off after illegally demolishing a historic building for a project. And in 2018, Palmer spent $2 million to oppose rent control in California. He’s among three major donors to political committees now being sued for failing to disclose contributions to oppose rent control in the 2020 election season as well.

Blackstone has a history of buying political influence. CEO Stephen Schwarzman, a longtime friend of Trump, is personally funding the Trump reelection campaign to the tune of $3.7 million. This lifelong Republican has been labeled “Wall Street’s Top Donor,” personally spending over $27 million on candidates, campaigns and super PACs across the country so far this year. In 2018, Blackstone spent $7 million to oppose Proposition 10 which would have prevented it from continuing to so that it could continue jacking up rents in California. Over the last four years, Blackstone has donated millions to a California-based PAC that works to dismantle workers rights, lower taxes on the state’s wealthiest corporations, and eliminate protections for renters. This year, that PAC has spent at least $18.7 million to oppose Proposition 15 and Proposition 21 and block much needed policy to invest in our schools and communities and protect renter families from becoming homeless.  Over $7 million has been funneled from Blackstone through the CA Business Roundtable, a front group, this election season.

President Trump and Vornado CEO Steven Roth have been close for decades. Vornado owns two massive properties with President Trump and has also done business with Jared Kushner. In the last several years, Roth has been both an economic advisor and political donor to the president, recently contributing $200,000 to the Trump Victory fund. Their relationship has corruption alarm bells ringing: Vornado pays the Trump administration millions of dollars each year while also vying for huge government contracts. Vornado practices disaster capitalism, enriching its executives while accelerating crises that take people’s homes and jobs. During the Great Recession, Vornado executives tried to raise a billion dollars from investors to buy up the homes of people who were being foreclosed on. They also destroyed 33,000 jobs as part of the consortium that acquired Toys R Us, loading it up on debt, paying themselves millions, and then driving the company into bankruptcy. All while avoiding paying their fair share in taxes.