Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Report: Feds bust Corey Johnson's company for racial discrimination

Corey Johnson's employers must pay $3.5 million to settle a racially-based lending discrimination lawsuit brought by the Federal Government. The following is the press release issued to announce the settlement.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Thomas E. Perez, the Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, and John TrasviƱa, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), announced today that GFI Mortgage Bankers Inc., a large independent home mortgage firm that concentrates on the New York, New Jersey, and Florida markets, will pay $3.555 million to resolve a lending discrimination lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit alleges that GFI engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by pricing residential mortgage loans for qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher than for similarly qualified non-Hispanic white borrowers between 2005 and 2009. The consent order, which was filed in federal court in Manhattan – where GFI is headquartered – was approved today by U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: "With the settlement we announce today, the hundreds of victims of lending discrimination committed by GFI will be made whole, and the company has admitted the conduct that led to this lawsuit, and agreed to reform its residential lending practices. The swift resolution of this case demonstrates the commitment of this Office and of the entire Department of Justice to aggressively enforcing the laws against discriminatory lending, and to holding accountable those who engage in this illegal conduct."

See the rest of the press release after the jump

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Johnson Blasts Pro-Business Group As Race for Quinn's Seat Heats Up

Johnson Blasts Pro-Business Group As Race for Quinn's Seat Heats Up

By Colin Campbell 5/02/12 3:15pm

The race to replace term-limited Council Speaker Christine Quinn looks like it's already well underway. Two of the four likely candidates, local community board chairs Corey Johnson and Brad Hoylman, have already registered campaign committees and Mr. Johnson recently sent out a statement indirectly criticizing Mr. Hoylman over his day job, where he works as the executive vice president and general counsel for the business friendly lobbying group Partnership for New York City.

"Anyone who decides to run for office has a responsibility to tell the voters where they stand on key issues," Mr. Johnson declared, noting the Partnership's opposition to the living wage bill passed earlier this week. "This is especially true for a candidate who serves as a paid lobbyist for the 1%. If that candidate can't -- or won't -- answer questions on where he stands on core issues of economic justice, voters have little choice but to assume that he stands against the 99%."

City & State already speculated the organization could force an interesting balancing act for Mr. Hoylman, as the "personal politics he espouses are liberal" while his employer opposes much of the prominent progressive legislation going before the City Council. As the Democratic primary electorate is likely to be even more liberal than the district as a whole, Mr. Johnson undoubtedly hopes the Partnership's conservative positions on business regulation becomes a key issue in the race.

"The greatest threat to New York's long-term economic viability is the growing income inequality that is exacerbated by the Partnership's efforts to stop working people from earning a fair wage," Mr. Johnson also said about the group. "While they're lobbying to maximize profits for Wall Street and wealthy developers, middle class people are struggling to pay their rent and household bills. On this issue, and on all issues that affect people's livelihoods, the Council needs to listen to working families -- not the paid lobbyists for the 1%."

Attempts to discuss the Partnership's potential impact in the campaign with Mr. Hoylman over the past week were unsuccessful as they were repeatedly rescheduled.

It should be noted, of course, that neither Mr. Johnson or Mr. Hoylman are official candidates in the race yet, and much of the campaign back-and-forth is still to come. Other likely candidates included civil rights attorney Yetta Kurland and Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation.

Update: As a point of correction, Mr. Hoylman previously worked as a lobbyist for the Partnership, but doesn't currently do so.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

GLAAD'S Corey Johnson Fired

The Petrelis Files
Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is no stranger to LGBT politicians in need of employment.

Two of its executive directors, Neil Giuliano and Jarrett Barrios, ran the organization after their political careers ended, and there's also been aspiring elected official Corey Johnson using his perch at GLAAD to pretty much run a nascent campaign for New York City's City Council in 2013.

Yesterday, Johnson, along with ten other staffers at GLAAD, was fired because of severe budgetary problems. The Advocate is so far the only source of info on the firings and continuing fiscal troubles of GLAAD, but their story omits the names of who was laid off.

GLAAD's staff directory no longer lists Johnson as the deputy director for programs, and there is nothing posted about the shrinking of the staff.

My sources in NYC inform me that much of Johnson's time while on the GLAAD payroll was spent shoring up support for his next step up the political ladder, and that his advocacy for the group was all about promoting himself.

He currently serves as the board chair of Manhattan's Community Board 4, for the Clinton/Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea neighborhoods, a position he's held since July of 2011, and last summer spoke with the Chelsea Now paper and had this to say when asked about his interest in running for the City Council:

Q: There's been lots of speculation, in the pages of our sister publication The Villager, for example, that you have ambitions for the District 3 City Council seat in 2013.

A: I think it's flattering that people are talking about two years from now. But my only focus is to do the best job possible as Community Board 4 chair, and to continue the amazing, deliberative, engaged work that this Community Board does.

After months of hearing supposedly interim San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee say he would not seek a full term, only to see him run last November, I know dog whistle code when I hear it. My sources don't believe Johnson's coy protestations about no interest in becoming an elected Democratic gay officeholder, and I believe them.

They say Johnson is not solely focused on the Community Board, that he is campaigning already for 2013's race and spending lots of time on Facebook. Now that GLAAD has sent him packing, he'll plenty of time to work on his City Council campaign.

The larger picture, GLAAD laying off so many staffers, while it's terrible that LGBT folks are losing their jobs, is something that leaves me deeply untroubled. GLAAD is a bloodsucking leech upon the gay body politic and pocketbook, putting on an endless number of meaningless awards shows and getting all riled up about pathetic TV shows dying from their own stupidity.

When the day comes that GLAAD goes out of business, and make no mistake it is business first and foremost, it will be an excellent development for the LGBT community.