Coming soon: CoJo and Co.
Outgoing City Council Speaker Corey Johnson has been telling friends and advisors of plans to start his own government-relations consulting shop.
Johnson wants to start small, with a core group of seven or eight clients shelling out five-figure retainers, sources said.
“He’s looking to hire people and is now actively soliciting clients and talking to potential employees,” said one insider who CoJo has spoken to about the issue. “I think he’s planning on taking a break from politics. I don’t know if he’s done forever.”
“I know he was talking to some real estate clients,” the insider said. Johnson Before his political career, the speaker served as government relations director for GFI Development, a Manhattan-based real estate developer.
A second source familiar with the matter said Johnson, 39, would likely benefit from a good relationship with Mayor-elect Adams, but that his plans might go south because he is “not trusted by the business community.”
Johnson shunned real estate donations during his brief mayoral campaign last year and instead won the endorsements of tenants rights activists.
“New Yorkers are fed up with our pay-to-play political system,” Johnson told supporters in an email Craine’s reported in Jan 2019. “They know that real estate developers and lobbyists have had too much sway for too long.”
In 2019, Johnson was an opponent of the planned Amazon expansion in New York City and publicly blasted the company for practicing “vulture capitalism.” Johnson has also opposed efforts to weaken the power of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Johnson probably won’t be able to expect much support from the City Council’s many new members next year.
“It’s going to be tough for him,” said longtime Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf said. “He’s going to have to create a whole new niche for himself and the question is can you do that.”
“Are we going to be seeing a Corey Johnson mansion in Southhampton in five years from this? Not likely,” Sheinkopf added.
Johnson said he’s been having conversations but “nothing is solid at this point.”
“A lot of people have been reaching out to me from all sorts of industries, whether they be nonprofit or cultural institutions,” he told The Post. “Some are interested in development in New York or are start ups. I have sort of been inundated.”
CoJo’s council colleagues said they wished him well.
“What do they expect people to do after they leave office?” Councilman Joe Borelli told The Post. “I wish him all the luck in the world.”