Report: Cory Booker Ditching His Troublesome Start-Up

Cory Booker, the Newark, N.J. mayor and Democratic New Jersey Senate candidate, is stepping down from the board of the small video aggregation website Waywire, his Senate campaign told Politico on Friday.

According to Politico, Booker will be donating his shares in the company — which he recently valued at between $1 million and $5 million — to charity. Booker’s campaign did not immediately respond to a question from TPM about when Booker’s resignation from Waywire will go into effect. Booker’s move comes a few week’s after another of Waywire’s co-founders, Nathan Richardson, stepped down from his role as the company’s CEO.

Booker’s announcement came on the same day that his campaign allowed select reporters to examine 15 years of the candidate’s tax returns. Politico reported that nine reporters were granted access to the returns, which were made available in a hotel banquet room in Newark. Reporters were given three hours to review the documents, and not allowed to photograph or photocopy them.

According to Politico, Booker’s 2012 returns made no mention of Waywire, which was founded in March 2012 by Booker, Richardson, and Sarah Ross.

“There was no income that was derived from the holding,” Booker spokesman Kevin Griffis told Politico. “And it wasn’t sold, so therefore it doesn’t have to appear on an income tax form.”

Booker’s role in Waywire was spotlighted in a New York Times front-page story in August. The article described how the company raised $1.75 million in 2012 thanks to Booker’s network of powerful friends and supporters, including Oprah Winfrey, Google’s Eric Schmidt, and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman.

After the Times story came out, Booker stated that, if elected, he would step down from Waywire and put his holdings in a public trust. The company told TPM in August that it was continuing to court potential investors as Booker ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate. At the time, both the company and Booker’s campaign declined to tell TPM if Booker had been involved in meetings with potential Waywire investors since kicking off his Senate campaign in June.

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