Rachel Noerdlinger

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Rachel Noerdlinger
Born (1970-11-14) November 14, 1970 (age 47)
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
Residence Edgewater, New Jersey[1]
Alma mater Mills College (B.A., 1992)
Known for Public relations[2]

Rachel Noerdlinger (born November 14, 1970) is an American publicist. She is the former chief of staff to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's wife Chirlane McCray.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Rachel Noerdlinger was born on November 14, 1970 in Albuquerque, New Mexico and soon after was adopted by a white couple, Peter and Janau Noerdlinger. She grew up with four siblings, including another African-American child adopted by the Noerdlingers. Throughout Noerdlinger's childhood, her family moved from state to state to New Mexico, Michigan, California and Colorado, and internationally, to the Netherlands. Noerdlinger, whose black brother was also adopted, claims she felt isolated growing up in predominantly white neighborhoods around the U.S. and didn't develop a strong identity until enrolling in Mills College, an all-women's college in Oakland. In 1996 she penned a Washington Post op-ed arguing that black adoptees should be placed with white families only "as a last resort".[4]

She attended the University of Denver from 1988-90[5] and graduated from Mills College in Oakland, California in 1992 with a bachelor's degree. She moved to New York City in 1993 after being accepted to Teachers College, Columbia University to work on her master's degree in Education.

Noerdlinger had spent the year before teaching in Gambia, West Africa as part of the Teachers for Africa Program with the intent to pursue a career in this field. However, during her first semester at Columbia, she dropped out and soon began an internship at the Terrie Williams Agency, one of the preeminent African-American public relations firms in the country.[6]

A publicist, her clients have included lawyer Johnnie Cochran[7] and civil rights activist Al Sharpton.[8]

She is the President of Noerdlinger Media[9] and Senior Vice President of Communications of the National Action Network.

Al Sharpton and The National Action Network[edit]

While at Terrie Williams Agency, Noerdlinger had many clients in the fields of entertainment, sports, business, media and politics, but was most recognized for her work with Attorney Johnnie Cochran, whom she later served as a public relations advisor. She developed a strong relationship with one of Cochran's clients, Al Sharpton. She later moved to Sharpton's National Action Network. Her PR firm worked on the Sean Bell case, the Jena Six case, and the case of Megan Williams. She was also Press Secretary for Sharpton’s 2004 United States Democratic Presidential run. She has a weekly segment on Sharpton's radio show.

Noerdlinger Media[edit]

Noerdlinger Media's clients also include or have included The Cochran Firm; Paul B. Weitz and Associates; Lifflander and Reich, LLP; Rubenstein and Rynecki; and Sunshine Sachs Public Relations.[10]

Chief of staff to Chirlane McCray[edit]

Noerdlinger was appointed[when?] by the mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio as the chief of staff to his wife, Chirlane McCray. Her annual salary was $170,000.[11][12] Her appointment led to controversy over several incidents in her past. She was criticized for not disclosing in a background questionnaire that she lives with her boyfriend, Hassaun McFarlan, who has an extensive criminal record.[13] Her home in Edgewater, New Jersey had a $28,190 federal tax lien placed on it in 2011[14] and her company, Noerdlinger Media Incorporated, had a tax warrant filed by New York State for $1,368. It was reported that she was paying both tax debts through a payment plan.[15] She had an outstanding E-ZPass bill of more than $7,000 for unpaid tolls and related fees on two license plates, as well as nine parking tickets totaling $876, but was also paying those debts through a payment plan.[16] Noerdlinger was granted a waiver to city employee residency rules by de Blasio for living in Edgewater, New Jersey because she said that her son, Khari, had suffered significant injuries from car accidents and needed to be near his doctors.[17] De Blasio defended Noerdlinger as the victim of unfair scrutiny, comparing media attacks on her to McCarthyism.[18] Noerdlinger resigned her position in 2014.

Personal life[edit]

Noerdlinger lives in Edgewater, New Jersey with her son and her partner, Hassaun McFarlan.[19][20]

Noerdlinger took an unpaid leave of absence on November 18, 2014, a few days after her teenage son, Khari Noerdlinger, was arrested for criminal trespassing with his friends, two of whom were in possession of marijuana.[18]


  1. ^ Emily Ngo (November 17, 2014). "Rachel Noerdlinger, Chirlane McCray's aide, takes leave of absence". Newsday. Retrieved November 18, 2014. De Blasio in Brooklyn Monday reiterated he views Noerdlinger, 44, of Edgewater, New Jersey, as a dedicated public servant and an integral part of his team. 
  2. ^ "At City Hall, Backstage Player Is Cast in Main Stage Uproar". The New York Times. October 3, 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014. A public relations expert credited with helping to transform her last boss, the Rev. Al Sharpton, into a national celebrity, Ms. Noerdlinger was seen as the ideal collaborator for Ms. McCray, a poet and writer eager to play a significant role in her husband’s administration. 
  3. ^ MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM and NIKITA STEWART (November 17, 2014). "Rachel Noerdlinger, a Top City Hall Aide, Takes a Leave of Absence". The New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  4. ^ White Mama, Black Baby, essence.com; accessed February 29, 2016.
  5. ^ Clem Richardson (December 6, 2009). "Rachel Noerdlinger helps sharpen image of the Rev. Al Sharpton". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 18, 2014. Noerdlinger used a partial soccer scholarship to attend the University of Denver in 1988, then transferred to Mills College in Oakland, Calif., where she majored in political science and communication. 
  6. ^ Michael Slackman (December 14, 2004). "Getting to Know the Color of Her Skin". The New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Browns Lineman Hires Cochran; Suit Possible". Philadelphia Media Network. April 27, 2000. Retrieved November 18, 2014. "Johnnie is going to be working with Orlando. We just don't know in which capacity yet", Cochran's publicist, Rachel Noerdlinger, said yesterday. 
  8. ^ Nikita Stewart (May 9, 2014). "The Women of New York's City Hall". The New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2014. Rachel Noerdlinger, the 43-year-old chief of staff to the city's first lady, Chirlane McCray, is a black single mother who is the adopted daughter of a white couple. She made a career out of helping to reshape the image of the Rev. Al Sharpton, from storefront preacher to civil rights activist and television personality. 
  9. ^ Jennifer Peltz (November 17, 2014). "NYC aide on leave after son's arrest, police ire". Associated Press. Retrieved November 18, 2014. FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2014, file photo, Rachel Noerdlinger, president of Noerdlinger Media, attends a meeting at National Action Network headquarters, in New York. Noerdlinger, the chief of staff to New York City's first lady, Chirlane McCray, since Jan. 20, 2014, announced she is taking a leave of absence, Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. 
  10. ^ "At City Hall, Backstage Player Is Cast in Main Stage Uproar". The New York Times. October 4, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  11. ^ "The Women of New York's City Hall". 
  12. ^ "The hypocrisy of the de Blasio administration". November 18, 2014. Retrieved February 29, 2016. 
  13. ^ "At City Hall, Backstage Player Is Cast in Main Stage Uproar". Retrieved February 29, 2016. City investigators questioned Ms. Noerdlinger for several hours this week after learning that she had failed to disclose on a background questionnaire that she lived with a boyfriend, Hassaun McFarlan, who had an extensive criminal record. 
  14. ^ "Rachel Noerdlinger's Home Was Hit With $28K Federal Tax Lien". Retrieved February 29, 2016. Ms. Noerdlinger, chief of staff to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray, had a $28,190 federal tax lien placed on her Edgewater, New Jersey home in 2011, according to public records. 
  15. ^ "Rachel Noerdlinger's Home Was Hit With $28K Federal Tax Lien". Retrieved February 29, 2016. New York State has also filed a tax warrant against a company owned by Ms. Noerdlinger, Noerdlinger Media Incorporated, for $1,368, according to public records. 
  16. ^ Rachel Noerdlinger owes city $876 in unpaid parking tickets, nydailynews.com; accessed May 30, 2016.
  17. ^ "The hypocrisy of the de Blasio administration". Retrieved February 29, 2016. It was when the duplicitous Noerdlinger named him in an application for a residency waiver, spinning a tale about how the teen — so strapping and healthy that he was playing high school football at the time — was hobbled by a pair of car accidents and needed to be near his doctors. 
  18. ^ a b "Rachel Noerdlinger, embattled aide to NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, leaves office as mayor slams 'repulsive' scrutiny by media". Retrieved February 29, 2016. Khari Noerdlinger was arrested on a charge of criminal trespassing after he was found in the vestibule of a building in Washington Heights. The teen and three friends — all of them from New Jersey — were drinking and smoking, neighbors said. Two of Khari's's friends had pot on them, cops said, but Khari did not. 
  19. ^ Alyssa Zauderer (November 15, 2014). "City Hall aide Rachel Noerdlinger's son arrested on trespassing charge". WPIX. Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  20. ^ Michael Howard Saul (October 3, 2014). "City Hall Aide Noerdlinger Won't Face Disciplinary Action". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 18, 2014. The city Department of Investigation found that Ms. Noerdlinger didn't reveal Mr. McFarlan lived with her in Edgewater, N.J., but that she didn't intend to deceive the mayor or City Hall, said a de Blasio spokesman, Phil Walzak.