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Image: John Catsimatidis, NYC Mayoral Candidate, Backed by Luis Fortuno

John Catsimatidis, NYC Mayoral Candidate, Backed by Luis Fortuno

By Michael Mullins   |   Wednesday, 01 May 2013 01:11 PM

John Catsimatidis was recently endorsed by Puerto Rico's Ex-Gov. Luis Fortuno in his bid to become New York City's next mayor.

"John Catsimatidis is a proven job creator who has always been a true friend to the Hispanic community," Fortuno said in a campaign statement, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

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Catsimatidis, the Greek-born businessman whose net worth is estimated at $3 billion, "has always opened the doors to Hispanic workers in the businesses he's owned," Fortuno added.

"Whether in his grocery stores in New York or the hundreds of jobs he created in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic when he was CEO of Capitol Airlines," he said.

Former New York Gov. George Pataki has also endorsed Catsimatidis, one of three Republicans in the race.

Catsimatidis' Republican competitors are former MTA chief Joseph Lhota and Doe Fund founder George McDonald.

Catsimatidis is currently trailing his fellow Republican candidates in the primary, according to public polling, the Daily News reported.

In his endorsement of Catsimatidis, Fortuno recounted the billionaire's generosity following the hurricanes that destroyed much of the Caribbean.

"When hurricanes have ravaged the Caribbean, John has stepped up to the plate with needed food supplies, air transport and financial support for the relief efforts," Fortuno said.

In 2012, Catsimatidis co-hosted a 2012 fundraiser in NYC for Fortuno during his Puerto Rican gubernatorial campaign. Fortuno wound up losing the race to Alejandro García Padilla of the Popular Democratic Party.

The pair appeared to have also shared common business interests more than 20 years ago, when Fortuno handled some accounting work related to Catsimatidis' Caribbean businesses – the now bankrupt Capitol Air and a chain of Pantry Pride grocery stories, the Daily News reported.

At the time, the two men reportedly did not know each other personally.

Catsimatidis owns Gristedes Foods and the Red Apple Group, which has holdings in aviation and real estate interests in New York, Florida, and the U.S Virgin Islands. The billionaire also owns and operates the American Greek newspaper the Hellenic Times.

If elected, Catsimatidis will be the second consecutive billionaire mayor of NYC, replacing outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose third term ends this year.

Bloomberg, whose net worth is estimated at $27 billion according to Forbes magazine, reportedly spent $73.9 million on his first mayoral campaign in 2001.

In comparison, Catsimatidis says he will spend $1 million per month, the Daily News reported.

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John Catsimatidis was recently endorsed by Puerto Rico's Ex-Gov. Luis Fortuno in his bid to become New York City's next mayor.
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