There Might Be More to That Eric Adams Corruption Story

AP Photo/Brittainy Newman

Over the weekend, we looked at the story of the FBI investigating potential campaign finance fraud in New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ successful 2021 mayoral run. They went so far as to seize three cellphones and two iPads from the Mayor, returning them later in the week. At issue were a series of donations from Turkey that were allegedly funneled into Adams’ campaign coffers through straw donors. Thus far, that seems to have been the work of top Democratic fundraiser Brianna Suggs, with no indication that Adams was aware of the arrangement. But now, some of the text messages from Adams’ devices show another link to Turkey involving the Mayor’s involvement in the approval of a new Turkish consulate constructed near the United Nations complex. And yet this may turn out to be little more than a wrinkle. (NY Post)

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Federal investigators probing Mayor Adams’ 2021 campaign are now zeroing in on a series of texts suggesting he helped fast-track the opening of the Turkish government’s new diplomatic headquarters in Manhattan, sources close to the case told The Post.

The September 2021 texts between Adams — who was then the Brooklyn borough president and Democratic mayoral nominee — and Turkish Consul General Reyhan Özgür and then-FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro were uncovered by FBI agents Monday after they seized Adams’ electronic devices.

The texts were described by sources to The Post.

At first glance, if there are allegations of illegal campaign contributions from Turkey to the Mayor’s campaign through straw donors and we find text messages suggesting favors were done for Turkish interests, you might think we’ve reached an “Aha!” moment. But the evidence probably isn’t nearly as damning as the Post’s headline makes it sound. The construction of the new Turkevi Center diplomatic headquarters was already complete in 2021 when all of this was happening. Adams wasn’t even the Mayor yet, though he was widely expected to be after winning the Democratic primary. He was the borough president at the time.

The texts in question also didn’t look particularly nefarious. The new consulate had already received approval from the city, but it still required a “temporary certificate of occupancy” from the Fire Department. Turkish Consul General Reyhan Özgür reached out to Adams via text, asking if he knew the FDNY commissioner (Daniel Nigro) and if he could help make sure they received the certificate. Adams then texted Nigro asking him to “look into it” but didn’t give him any instructions as to what to do. Nigro texted back, saying that the certificate would be ready the following week. It was issued without complications and the consulate went into business on schedule.

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At least for now, that seems to be the entirety of the story. That’s a far cry from the Turks saying that their embassy was being held back and ‘Don’t forget about all that money we sent you.’ It’s possible that the FDNY commissioner might have given a bit quicker attention to what sounds like nothing more than a routine piece of housekeeping because the anticipated mayor-elect pinged him, but that’s about it.

This still doesn’t sound like the FBI has uncovered any type of Watergate-level scandal directly involving the Mayor. The consulate is in Admas’ old borough so they asked the borough president to move a minor piece of bureaucratic paperwork through the system for them and he made a call. If the straw donation allegations prove to be true, there will be some people in serious trouble, most likely including Brianna Suggs. It could possibly even impact Adams’ campaign treasurer. But there still doesn’t seem to have been any sort of “arrangement” or understanding between Adams and the Turks. If nothing further is revealed, this could still wind up being a big nothingburger.

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