Paul Massey made his case for the mayoralty during the EisnerAmper Private Equity Summit at Pier Sixty last week.
Telling the audience, “I want to be our next mayor,” the Republican candidate was quick to criticize current Mayor Bill De Blasio while praising previous Republicans.
Massey has frequently called former Michael Bloomberg “the model,” when discussing leadership style.
When asked by interviewer Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York, what he admired about previous mayors, he praised Rudy Giuliani for “bringing the city back” and cutting down crime, touted Bloomberg’s vision and rezoning that led to Hudson Yards and other projects, and even gave props to Mayor de Blasio for universal pre-K and the Brooklyn Streetcar proposal (BQX).
However Massey added, “I think he’s [De Blasio] challenged with leadership and management. We need leadership that works.”
Now president of New York Investment Sales with Cushman & Wakefield, Massey’s real estate career began in the 1980’s when he started out as a broker at Coldwell Banker. He co-founded Massey Knakal with Bob Knakal in 1988.
The broker labeled himself socially moderate and fiscally conservative, adding that in the past, he would have been called a “Rockefeller Republican.”
He touted his thorough knowledge of the city through Massey Knakal’s trademarked territory system that organized brokers into different neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs.
“Along the way I learned some great skills about setting visions, setting goals, making things happen, and also dealing with complex situations and competing interests, so I feel like I’m the guy for the job,” said Massey.
In a discussion about what he would fix in the city, he ticked off safety as his number one issue, noting homelessness and terrorism were of concern, the state of public schools in NYC, and affordable housing.
“I think these are things people are really worried about,” he said. “How are we the greatest city on the planet and have schools that are failing? It’s beyond me.”
On the subject of affordable housing, Massey said incentives are key to building affordable housing on a large scale, and good relationships with other leaders is crucial.
“The affordable housing that we’re creating now is de minimis, it’s insufficient, our housing stock is aged, we need to create much more housing than we’re getting now, and that’s going to require a partnership between the mayor and the governor that is not currently there,” he said.
“I think you can create incentives around affordable housing where all parties concerned benefit.”
On the topic of immigration, Massey spoke of his longtime involvement with the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, emphasizing the importance of immigrants in building New York City.
“We’re a city built on immigration, we have to embrace immigration, as we always have,” he said.
Toward the end of the discussion, Massey fielded questions texted to organizers by the audience, one of which asked if he would ever consider running for president, which Massey quickly ruled out.
“If I’m elected mayor, that’ll be the first and last political job that I’ll have,” he said.
Massey first began meeting with GOP leaders in March of this year to gauge support for a mayoral run. He officially announced his candidacy in August, and stated that he wouldn’t be entering the New York City public matching fund program during his campaign, and that it instead will be funded entirely by donors, including himself.
“I love this city and I am concerned about where it’s headed,” said Massey in a statement marking the launch of his campaign.
“My team and I are taking a leadership role by filing my candidacy today. We are currently meeting with New York City civic and thought leaders, as well as with individual New Yorkers to hear their ideas and to listen to their concerns. In the months ahead, we will be sharing our strategic vision for the city.”