FrontPageMag: In 2010, Mayor Cory Booker and Mark Zuckerberg were sitting across from Oprah while the Facebook boss announced a $100 million donation to Newark’s failing public schools. When the two men next met up, in a prominent forum, Senator Booker was questioning Zuckerberg about Facebook’s role in racism. The $100 million had long since vanished. So had the friendship between Zuckerberg and Booker.
And the money is drying up too.
Beto O’Rourke was able to raise $6.1 million within 24 hours of his campaign launch while Booker struggled to make $5 in his first fundraising quarter. Once upon a time, Booker owned Silicon Valley. The connections that he made would once upon a time have given him a huge war chest right from the start.
Booker’s problem was that he got greedy. And he failed.
The former isn’t necessarily a crime in an industry that wears a patina of altruism over the mass defrauding of everyone in sight. But failure carries a price. And 6 years later, Booker is still paying it.
Some of his old pals in the industry are still sticking by him. LinkedIn co-founder and old classmate Reid Hoffman and former Google boss Eric Schmidt are still helping him. But it’s not enough. Booker’s ties with them go back to his Waywire days. And that forgotten chapter in his career may help explain why an industry that once loved Booker is so cool to him. And why Oprah doesn’t call much anymore.
Booker, Zuckerberg and Oprah made a strange trio. Booker, Oprah, and the big bosses at Google and LinkedIn also made a strange group. But they were among the investors for Booker’s Waywire.
Waywire was supposed to be a more “progressive” version of YouTube that would click with young people. Oprah, Schmidt and Hoffman helped raise $1.75 million for the site. Even while Booker was serving as the mayor of a failed city, he had used celebrity and tech pals to create a company in which he owned a share of as much as $5 million. Not that he seemed to want anyone to know about it.
Booker failed to disclose the shares, the bulk of his financial assets, in his disclosure forms. He only disclosed them on the day that the New York Times ran a piece revealing his dubious behavior. more