Stop Stephen Schwarzman - Vote Yes on Prop 21
Stephen Schwarzman is the CEO of Blackstone Group which is one of the largest corporate landlords in the world and is a key player in the global housing affordability criss, which threatens the health and lives of hundreds of millions of men, women, and children. Schwarzman and Blackstone needs to be accountable. On top of that, Schwarzman has emerged as one of Trump’s most generous donors,” the Washington Post reported in 2018, “as well as a key advisor with rare and regular access to the president.” By 2020, Schwarzman had shelled out a total of $4.4 million to Trump’s re-election campaign and political committees aligned with Trump, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Stop Stephen Schwarzman and Vote Yes on Prop 21.
Meet the Other Villains of Big Real Estate
Corporate landlords and Big Real Estate have historically shelled out millions in campaign cash to oppose rent control and more affordable, fair rents.
As millions of Californians face evictions and homelessness due to the coronavirus pandemic, corporate landlords and other bad actors have used the pandemic to prey on vulnerable tenants throughout the state. These corporate landlords and bad actors have fought renter protections that would help vulnerable tenants throughout the state. They want to keep charging unfair, sky-high rents, no matter the harm to others.
The Co-Founder and Chairman of Equity Residential, a Chicago-based real estate investment trust (REIT), Sam owns 303 properties totaling 78,280 apartments in San Francisco, Southern California, New York, and other cities.
Ask any of your friends and neighbors to check their rent statement: Sam and Equity Residential are most likely their landlords.
Despite owing his vast wealth to millions of tenants across the country, Sam takes great pride in using the money gained from his rental properties to stop tenants’ protections dead in their tracks.
In fact, Sam is one of the powerful forces behind Big Real Estate’s multi-million-dollar push to stop the Rental Affordability Act, the November ballot measure that expands rent control in California.
Geoffrey Palmer is the worst developer in Downtown Los Angeles.
And that’s not merely an opinion: it’s a fact. Go on, Google it. Geoffrey is a billionaire developer and landlord who owns and manages more than 11,000 apartments in Southern California.
Most LA residents (and frequent visitors to downtown LA) will recognize his Italian-themed buildings scattered along the 101 freeway leading into Downtown LA. See the DaVinci, the Orsini, the Lorenzo, etc. (just tacky).
In conversations about California’s housing affordability and homelessness crises, the question “how did it get so bad?” is ever-present.
Much of the blame rests on the shoulders of Big Real Estate and corporate landlords like Mike Schall, CEO of Essex Property Trust, a real estate investment trust (REIT) based in San Mateo, California.
There is a broad consensus among economists and housing justice activists that skyrocketing rent increases, coupled with stagnant wages, are significant contributors to the housing affordability crisis.
The organization represents Big Real Estate special interests and is known to attack housing activists who seek to protect renters from unfair evictions and outrageous rent hikes.
At the helm of the CAA sits CEO Tom Bannon, a staunch nemesis of rent control. He led the successful No on Prop 10 campaign that stopped the expansion of rent control. Prop 10 would have benefitted millions of middle- and working-class Californians. Despite devastating housing affordability and homelessness crises that are slamming hard-working Californians, Tom and the CAA continue to spend millions of dollars to end efforts to protect California renters.
Outside the real estate industry, most Californians have never heard of Barry Altshuler, and he probably likes it that way.
Barry is president of the California Apartment Association board of directors, executive vice president at Equity Residential, and a major figure behind Big Real Estate’s multi-million-dollar push to stop rent control in California.
For more than 20 years, Barry has been a top executive at Equity Residential, a real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns 79,200 units in cities all over America, and he is estimated to be worth $30.1 billion.
As president of the CAA board of directors, the most powerful landlord lobbying group in California, he has constantly, and aggressively, opposed renter protections as the state’s housing affordability crisis has worsened.
John Eudy might not look like your typical “strongman mafioso” with his perpetual “dear-in-the headlights, confused-about-life” look. But from his backroom, dark money dealings as part of the California Apartment Association’s (CAA) never-ending push to stop any renter protections, John and the CAA are the epitome of greed and heartlessness that we all associate with the Mafia.
As a CAA board member, John is one of the master puppeteers who are pulling strings by spending millions to stop Proposition 21. Instead of working to keep families in their homes, John and the CAA prefer to maintain the status quo of mass displacement and chronic homelessness in California.
Dallas is CEO of Invitation Homes, a Dallas, Texas-based company that owns more than 80,000 rental homes and operates in California, Washington, and Texas, and other markets, with total assets of $17.3 billion. Until recently, Invitation Homes was a division of Blackstone Group, perhaps the most despised mega-landlord in the world.
So just how terrible does a company have to be called out by the United Nations? In a 2019 letter to Blackstone Group CEO and billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, United Nations experts Leilani Farha and Surya Deva charged that Invitation Homes is “quick to threaten eviction or file eviction notices for late payment of rent or late payment of fees, no matter the circumstances.” The United Nations also noted that tenants “indicated that they feel insecure living in these conditions, where above-average rent increases, exorbitant fees, or the smallest infraction can result in arrears and lead to eviction and the threat of homelessness.
Richard “Tod” Spieker was an All-America swimmer at UCLA, but today, he’s swimming in money he acquired through rent gouging tenants as a corporate landlord in Palo Alto. Spieker has leveraged the wealth against Prop 21, a ballot measure to keep families in their homes and is one of the leading donors in Big Real Estate’s multi-million-dollar campaign to kill Proposition 21.
Tod Spieker owns and operates 2,900 multifamily units, mostly throughout the Santa Clara and San Mateo counties (Silicon Valley). As a multi-millionaire corporate landlord, his response to the state’s ongoing housing affordability and homelessness crises, which have worsened due to the financial devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, is to fight all efforts to get rent control passed.
Tod’s history of fighting efforts to extend tenant protections and stifle rent control goes back years.