Staff New York Business Journal
has long viewed New York City as a prime target for future expansion,
but has faced opposition from numerous elements, particularly unions and
Democratic politicians. As recently as March 2013, the company faced
such staunch resistance it said it would hit the brakes and slow down its efforts to establish a beachhead within the five boroughs.
Now, however, New York City Council members believe Walmart (NYSE: WMT) is trying to buy its way into the market through charitable donations,
according to a report by the New York Post. More than half of the
council's members put their names to a self-described "cease-and-desist"
letter accusing the company of trying to buy influence and support by
donating at least $4 million, total, to several area charities, the
report said. The Post noted that Walmart's owners, the Walton family, have also provided millions of dollars in funding for charter schools through the Walton
Family Foundation, some of which are in New York, and that also
represents a key political fault between the retailer and the city's
established politicians in power.
The flap comes as a recent study by an activist group explicitly opposed to Walmart indicated the Waltons have given a tiny amount of their personal wealth to the Walton Family Foundation. As described by Gawker, the group Walmart 1 Percent calculated that the Walton heirs have amassed a total of $140 billion in personal wealth, but over the past 23 years have donated about $58.49 million to their own foundation, or 0.04 percent of their net worth.