Update: If you think real estate development isn't about politics, think again.

In my original post recapping Chris Wetterich’s Business Courier list of top political contributors to last year’s mayoral race, I was puzzled by #7 on the list:  Former Cincinnati Bengals safety Chinedum Ndukwe.  Mystery solved.  Mr. Ndukwe has entered the real estate development biz and his first project is the redevelopment of Tower Place Mall into 775 parking places with 8,400 square feet of commercial space.  He’s partnering with JDL Warm Construction, the controlling interest in the Hilton and Carew Tower.  

As reported by Chris Wetterich in the Cincinnati Business Courier in March, this is the list of John Cranley’s top political contributors that helped him to victory in 2013:

1.  Employees from John’s former law firm, Keating, Muething & klekamp

2.  Dan Neyer & Neyer Properties

3.  Chavezes and The Parking Company of America – parking lots are often used as place-holders for future development and the Chavezes also have a real estate development arm of their business.

4.  Developer Louis Beck who is most closely associated with his Mariemont Apartments Investments

5.  The Hamilton County Democratic Party

6.  the Daouds, John’s wife’s family

7.  the Ndukwe family (former Cincinnati Bengal)

8.  Tom Williams and North American Properties.  Mr. Williams is a grandson of the founder and board member of privately held Western & Southern Life, member of the Port Authority Board, 3CDC board, REDI board (regional development), board member of Cincinnati Equity Fund, and Chairman of the Cincinnati Business Committee

9.  Dan Schimberg of Uptown Rental Properties

10.  the Cranley family

11.  Anchor Properties/Hemberger family

12.  David & Alexander Bastor/Capital Investment Group (real estate)

13.  Castellinis (3CDC board)

14.  JTM Food Group/Maas family

15.  Lindner family (of Great American Insurance Group, the major tenant of the Great American Tower, developed by Western & Southern)

16.  Bortz family/Towne Properties (Neil Bortz, 3CDC board)

Cincinnati Magazine offers an interesting perspective from Council Member Wendell Young in their most recent cover story about John Cranley, “Why Isn’t this Man Smiling?”

“He supported me when I ran,” Young said, “which made it very difficult to say no to him when he wanted my support. But I didn’t like the people around him. It was never a case of not liking him. It was what I could see that he was going to owe—and who he was going to owe favors to—that was a problem for me.”

Now you tell me.  Real estate developers might not be the only people John Cranley owes, but it’s obvious they sure are pretty high-up on the list.


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