Demand Raleigh City Council to Recuse from Voting on Downtown South Project

The Wake County Housing Justice Coalition is calling on Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin and other City Council members to recuse themselves from voting on Kane Realty’s massive “Downtown South” rezoning application if they accepted campaign contributions from developer John Kane.

We ask Raleigh residents to join us in this call by signing the attached letter addressed to Baldwin and the Council. Doing so will take less than a minute.

Campaign records from the 2019 election show that Baldwin and at least 4 other Council members received substantial sums from Kane. If they vote to support his company’s application, we believe they will have a conflict of interest.

A “No” vote, of course, would also avoid such a conflict.

Contributions received since 2019 may not have been reported. If other Council members have taken money from Kane in 2020, they should also recuse themselves.

Kane Realty is asking the Council for a blank check to build 40-story towers, expensive housing, and other massive structures -- possibly including a stadium -- on 146 acres of land in South Raleigh. Downstream flooding from such a massive project is a major environmental injustice. The size of this development, plus the flooding have the potential to destroy existing neighborhoods and displace an untold number of residents.

Kane is also asking Council to give him tax breaks that could cost the city $300 million or more.  

If Council approves Kane’s rezoning, it will be a clear violation of their public trust.

In the 2019 election campaign, the following members of the Raleigh City Council received campaign contribution from John Kane or Michael Smith, his subordinate.:

Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin - John Kane, $2500 - 04/09/2019, $2900 - 09/04/2019, Willa Kane (wife of John Kane) - $5400 - 09/04/2019, and Michael Smith (Executive with Kane Realty) - $1000 - 04/23/2019, $4400 - 09/05/2019, $5400 - 10/11/2019, but reimbursed in full 10/17/2019

District A Councilmember Patrick Buffkin - John Kane - $2500 - 07/24/2019, John Kane - $2000 - 08/25/2019, John Kane - $2000 - 08/27/2019 (With only $1100 refund on 08/27/2019)

District C Councilmember Corey Branch - John Kane - $2500 - 08/09/2019

District E Councilmember David Knight - John Kane - $2500 - 06/05/2019

At-Large Councilmember Jonathan Melton - John Kane - $1000 - 05/23/2019, John Kane - $1500 - 08/12/2019, John Kane - $2900 - 09/09/2019

Kane Realty has refused to commit to ANY affordable housing in its project, saying that it will only negotiate on that topic AFTER its rezoning is approved. In the words, “sign the contract” and then we’ll talk about the terms?

Raleigh residents deserve better. Much better.

The question here is, Who runs Raleigh? Do developers run it? Does Kane run it? Or do citizens have a voice and a stake in the outcome.

Developers should not be allowed to buy the votes of City Council. Please join us in sending this message.

Thank you!