Thursday, June 27, 2013

NYC Pol Corey Johnson: How Much $$ From Real Estate Developers?

(Johnson, left, interviewing Rep. Jared Polis in January 2009. Credit: Towleroad.)

Ever since he came out on the front page of the New York Times in May 2000 as a high school football player in Massachusetts, at the time of the LGBT Millennium March on Washington, Corey Johnson has been groomed by Gay Inc and Democratic Party leaders as The Next Great Gay Hope.

Has he lived up to all the hype he's generated since then, and what precisely are his tangible accomplishments of benefit to the larger gay community? Such questions should be answered as Johnson uses his perch as the appointed head of New York City's Community Board 4 in his campaign to be elected to the City Council in the fall.

At his web site, the page for Johnson's positions and accomplishments regarding affordable housing in New York contains nothing but hype and vagueness:

[He] has a proven track record of fighting to preserve and expand affordable housing in our neighborhoods. Corey knows from personal experience that affordable housing is essential to keeping our neighborhoods diverse, vibrant, and livable. As a child, Corey grew up in affordable housing and during his tenure on Community Board 4, thousands of affordable units were created to ensure that seniors, working families, artists, and people with disabilities could continue to make their homes here. Corey will continue to fight for permanent affordable housing in our neighborhoods. Corey believes that New York City should have oversight over its own rent regulation laws and supports the repeal of vacancy decontrol.

Let's unpack this. No specifics about the track record, cites long-ago personally living in affordable housing, states lots of new units were constructed during his Community Board tenure but that does not equal actually having had a hand in the construction, and ends by saying he'll continue the fight for more affordable housing. Huh? What fight exactly is he talking about?

I've gone over his list of donors at the NYC Campaign Finance Board and he's raised nearly $176,000.

Of that amount, about $8,400 came from 34 donors who listed a real estate related company including development firms or people who said they were real estate brokers as part of their identification info.

Among the donors is Mario Palumbo of the Millenium Partners Real Estate Development Company, who gave $250 and also served for a number of years as president of the board of directors of the city's LGBT Community Services Center. His donation shows an overlap of real estate developers and Gay Inc interests that are backing Johnson.

The largest donation from a real estate leader, at $2,750, came from Joseph McMillan who is the CEO of the DDG Partners Development firm.

Most of the $8,400 in real estate linked checks were in the $100 to $200 range.

Developers are much more concerned with city government and currying favor with elected officials because they want tax breaks for their properties, rezoning to build higher buildings, more rich people around to buy condos and coops and want to get rid of rent stabilization.

And thirty-four developers or real estate industry folks want to see Johnson elected to the City Council. They must like his track record on affordable housing (snark).

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