Throughout the ongoing firestorm directed at Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass over their decision to host a reception for Ted Cruz at their penthouse in Manhattan last month, the two gay real estate developers have repeatedly stressed the event was an "informal dinner" and not a fundraiser.
"It is amazing that my businesses are being boycotted by some because I hosted a discussion with an elected official. Not a fundraiser. Not an endorsement. A dialogue," wrote Weiderpass in an op-ed for The New York Observer. "Despite media reports to the contrary, I did not organize the Cruz dinner, but did embrace the opportunity—again, in a non-fundraising setting—to discuss a number of important issues, including support for Israel and support for gay rights."*
“There were no checks given, it was nothing like that,” Reisner told New York magazine.
Well it turns out Reisner wasn't exactly telling the truth, as The New York Times has revealed he cut a $2,700 check (the max individual contribution allowed) to the Cruz presidential campaign around the time of the dinner. Only after the NYT first reported on the dinner did Reisner ask for his check to be refunded.
“In the interest of transparency, I gave Senator Cruz a $2,700 check to show my support for his work on behalf of Israel,” Mr. Reisner said in a statement he provided after The Times learned of the donation from two people with direct knowledge of it. “When I realized his donation could be misconstrued as supporting his anti-gay marriage agenda, I asked for the money back. Senator Cruz’s office gave the money back, and I have no intention of giving any money to any politicians who aren’t in support of L.G.B.T. issues.”
A spokesman for Mr. Cruz declined to comment. Mr. Reisner, a friend insisted, was aware that his donation — and the refund — will appear on Mr. Cruz’s campaign finance filing when it becomes public in July.
Weiderpass, for his part, said he had not given a check to Cruz himself and "seemed surprised" when he was told about Reisner's donation.
* In the original NYT article that broke the story, the paper noted Cruz "did not mention his opposition to same-sex marriage, saying only that marriage is an issue that should be left to the states."