In the summer, the big donor money raising for candidates is a meet and greet event at houses located in vacation spots. Today there is a big fundraiser for Donald Trump in Southampton put on by Steve Ross. The Washington Post reported that tickets are priced at $100,000 for a photo opportunity and lunch, and $250,000 for the package that includes the roundtable discussion.
I never thought about Steve Ross’s political affiliations until today. He is a self-made real estate developer who has been philanthropic, owns a large chunk of the Miami Dolphins and sits at the head of his company Related that just built (and owns) Hudson Yards. He is worth about $7b.
He has invested in a variety of companies including Equinox (that includes Soul Cycle), David Chang’s food empire, Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar, Resy (bought by AMEX) and others. You can’t help but wonder if there will be a backlash from consumers and patrons when they realize that Ross is an investor in companies that they frequent. Equinox already came out with a statement.
Will this look like the quick derailment of the Whitney’s board member Warren Kanders, who was forced to resign as artists started pulling out of the Biennial. Even institutions that are now falling in line deciding to separate themselves from the Sackler Family who is under major scrutinization for creating the opiate epidemic.
Times have changed particularly for the millennials and Gen Z. Nothing is secret and soon there will be an article posted about every single investment that Steve Ross has made. What the backlash will be is yet to be determined.
I got an email from an investor today who wanted to know if entrepreneurs cared where their cash came from if they found out that it was a Russian Oligarch or a family that was involved with the Nazis years before. I don’t know about anyone else but I certainly do. I wouldn’t want to be in bed with them. Do I want to be in bed with a Trump supporter who is raising money for him….probably not.