Pierre Andre Gooding — Teacher | Attorney | Politician — Representing Harlem by appearing first on the June 22, 2021 ballot for City Council in District 9 in New York City. Gooding was elected President for the undergraduate class of 2006 and Vice President for the law school class of 2011 at the University of Pennsylvania, respectively. A Democrat and Libertarian, Gooding’s political ideology focuses on fiscal responsibility and social liberalism.
Gooding was born in the Grant Houses in Harlem. Due to rampant unemployment and failing schools in the neighborhood, Gooding’s family moved to Massachusetts, and Gooding attended public school in Haverhill. As a child, Gooding participated in the Johns Hopkin's Center for Talented Youth and the Princeton Summer Institute for the Gifted programs, scoring a 1020 on his SATs in 8th grade. Gooding attended Haverhill High School where he served as Vice President for C’02 and participated in varsity track, tennis (captain) and cross country teams.
Upon graduation, Gooding went to Penn, majoring in Political Science and Sociology. While in college, Gooding was a member of the Undergraduate Assembly and Class Board and served as President for Tau Epsilon Phi. Gooding was awarded the Spoon in 2006, one of the top leadership award at the University (along with the Althea K. Hottel Award for women). Gooding was accepted to Penn Law his senior year but deferred attendance to teach 6th and 8th grade English as a Second Language at Intermediate School 143m, Eleanor Roosevelt Junior High School in Washington Heights as a Teach For America corps member. He received a Masters in Teaching from Pace University in 2008.
Gooding then returned to Penn for law school, serving as secretary for the Council of Student Representatives and Class Leadership Committee. Following graduation, Gooding worked in Miami as a corporate litigation specialist, and was elected to the Dade County Bar Association Young Lawyer Section Board of Directors in 2012, and served as a chair of the rainmakers and homeless outreach committees. Gooding then returned to New York to utilize his attorney skills in the education space as legal counsel for schools across NYC. Gooding has also focused his legal efforts in New York on protecting the public from criminals.
On September 1st, 2016, a client contacted Gooding regarding not being allowed to move into apartment 26G at the Atelier located at 635 W. 42nd St, allegedly “owned” by Republican State Senate Candidate Jon Girodes. After verifying that the transaction was a scam from condominium sources, Gooding took the client to the 10th Precinct to file criminal charges and notified the press. Gooding was asked to represent and assembled fourteen other alleged victims, pro bono. Victims were scammed out of money ranging from $400 to over $15,000. Regarding the crime, Gooding stated:
"The scam is simple: he posts on Craigslist under his name or assumed name saying he's posting an apartment that's affordable because that's his initiative as a public officer. The person comes over, he shows them the amenities, wines them and dines them and takes their money. And then he comes up with various reasons why he won't return that money….It's the same apartment every single time, the same sort of lease structure. It's very obvious that there's no intent to ever rent out this apartment."
Girodes was arrested on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 on seven counts of third-degree grand larceny, one count of fourth-degree grand larceny, one count of first-degree scheme to defraud and one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument. Girodes pled not guilty but did not post the $75,000 bond. However, Girodes was on the November 8, 2016 election ballot for the 30th State Senate district including Harlem, the Upper West and Upper East side while incarcerated on Riker’s Island.