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Peter Koo

Eric Adams gave City Councilmembers who supported him in the mayoral primary plum City Hall positions, perhaps none more ill-defined than whatever Koo is doing as a highly paid adviser.


  • Pharmacy owner
  • President, Flushing Chinese Business Association    
  • New York City Councilmember


  •  Senior adviser to Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Philip Banks

During the mayoral campaign in 2021, COVID restrictions mostly limited the ability of campaigns to hold indoor fundraisers during the cold winter months. But then-New York City Councilmember Peter Koo found a loophole to help out his friend Eric Adams. He held a fundraiser in Great Neck, Long Island, where indoor dining was allowed. In an invitation to the fundraiser, Koo texted potential donors that Adams wouldn’t mess with the much-criticized exam that determines who gets into the City’s specialized high schools, and that Koo would find himself with a job in the administration. 

‘If elected, he said he will appoint me as one of the deputy mayors,” the text message said, according to reporting by the New York Times. But when approached by the Times about the message, Koo said he was all bluster. 

”I am at retirement age,” he told the Times. “I don’t need a job. I said that just to impress on my friends, do this, help support a mayor.”

“‘That is categorically false,” said Adams’s campaign spokesperson Evan Thies about the job offer. 

But this isn’t the first time fundraising for Eric Adams seemed to translate into a nice job in the Adams administration. 

A year later, Koo found himself in City Hall, as a senior adviser to Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Philip Banks III, whose own position is deeply nebulous. 

Much like his friend Eric Adams, the Flushing-based Koo was a Republican for a stretch of his political life. Koo first appeared on the scene in the early 2000s, supporting a booth for police officers to sit in outside the Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library. He then spent years trying to get into elected office, mostly using his own money for campaigns. When Koo ran for State Senate in 2008, he was briefly kicked off the ballot after a judge ruled that he lived in Port Washington, Long Island, and not Flushing. A higher court later ruled that Koo did, in fact, have his primary residence at a condo in Queens, even though he split his time in Long Island, and he was restored to the ballot. (That perhaps explains all the friends he could text in Long Island, however.) 

Koo was crushed in that election, but pulled off a stunning upset in 2009 for a Queens City Council seat, winning John Liu’s seat as a Republican in the race, and spending almost half a million dollars of his own money on his campaign. Once in office, Koo followed a fairly conservative tack for a councilmember—opposing reforms to stop-and-frisk, using money to fund crisis pregnancy centers, and ultimately trying to have all street vending banned from downtown Flushing. 

But like Adams, Koo ultimately saw limited utility in his party affiliation as a Republican, no matter his actual politics. In 2012, he announced he would be a Democrat, due to infighting among the few Republican members in City Council. 

While it wasn’t the deputy mayor position he had been envisioning in his text messages, Koo has fit right in with the Adams administration, basically making little news while in office while pulling a $201,000 annual salary. Alongside Adams administration officials like Winnie Greco, much of Koo’s job appears to be attending meetings with Asian American community groups on crime and public safety and repping the administration at events as varied as a tree lighting in Flushing, Queens, and gatherings of Chinese American business leaders meant to strengthen “Sino-U.S. Friendship.” 

City Hall did not respond to a request for comment about what Peter Koo does.

At a June town hall in Flushing, Adams said that he often walks the streets of Flushing with Koo, cracking down on street vendors. 

“I’m always in this area hanging out with Peter Koo,” Adams told residents. 

If you actually see them together, or see Peter Koo, the senior adviser to the deputy mayor of public safety, doing much of anything, please let us know. (A tipster tells us he might have moved on to the NYPD’s Community Affairs Unit?)

Last updated: 12/18/2023


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