Ronald Ratner is the president and chief executive of Cleveland-based real estate giant Forest City Residential Group. His cousin, Deborah Ratner Salzberg, is the president of the company’s Washington D.C. office. Together, the two bundled between $200,000 and $500,000 for the 2008 Obama campaign. They’ve bundled another $200-500,000 for his reelection campaign as well, as of the fourth quarter of last year.
Since Obama took office, the Ratners have seen millions in federal taxpayer money funneled to Forest City. They are the latest in a long line of Obama supporters who have received taxpayer money, been appointed to federal posts, or enjoyed significant access to administration officials.
The fundraisers have continued this election cycle: in September, Ratner again hosted Biden at his home for a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee’s Obama Victory Fund. Tickets to the event cost between $1,000 and $5,000.
Barely two weeks after Ratner hosted Biden for the DNC event, Forest City announced that it had signed a 50-year privatization deal with the Air Force “for the development and management of 2,185 family homes at four U.S. Air Force bases in the Southeast.”
The developments are valued at more than $300 million. Forest City “will also earn an on-going fee,” the company said, though it declined to specify what the fee would be.
The Air Force contract was not the first time Forest City received taxpayer dollars. According to data obtained through USAspending.gov, the company and other Forest City holdings have received at least $4.9 million in 40 different federal grants, contracts, and other payments since fiscal year 2010.
The Ratners are not the only high-profile Obama supporters to receive federal money in one form or another. The Center for Public Integrity documented that nearly 200 Obama bundlers had received direct payments from the federal government, access to federal officials, or appointments to key administration positions.
In addition to Forest City’s federal payments, Ron Ratner was also appointed by President Obama to the council of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.