The federal criminal investigation into New York City Democrat Mayor Eric Adams’ 2021 campaign reportedly focuses in part around whether Adams, then-Brooklyn borough president, pressured New York Fire Department officials to sign off on a Turkish government construction project in the city despite safety concerns.
The news comes after FBI agents seized Adams’ electronic devices last week as part of their probe into whether his campaign conspired with the Turkish government to funnel illegal campaign donations into its coffers.
The New York Times reported that after he won the Democratic mayoral primary in the summer of 2021, he allegedly contacted then-Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro and pushed him to allow the Turkish government to at least have permission to occupy on a temporary basis their new high-rise consulate in Manhattan.
Adams’ alleged intervention “paved the way” for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to preside over the grand opening of their 35-story tower in September 2021, the report said. Fire officials said that there were serious safety concerns with the building’s fire safety system. The building, which cost $300 million, is the country’s most expensive foreign mission project, the report said.
“As a borough president, part of my routine role was to notify government agencies of issues on behalf of constituents and constituencies,” Adams said in a statement. “I have not been accused of wrongdoing, and I will continue to cooperate with investigators.”
Before seizing Adams’ electronic devices last week, FBI agents executed a search warrant on the home of Adams’ chief fundraiser, Brianna Suggs, who was a campaign consultant for Adams. The agents have also interviewed multiple high-ranking officials who were involved in the approval process for the building, the report said.
“After learning of the federal investigation, it was discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly. In the spirit of transparency and cooperation, this behavior was immediately and proactively reported to investigators. The mayor has been and remains committed to cooperating in this matter,” Adams’ campaign attorney Boyd Johson said. “On Monday night, the FBI approached the mayor after an event. The mayor immediately complied with the FBI’s request and provided them with electronic devices. The mayor has not been accused of any wrongdoing and continues to cooperate with the investigation.”
Adams said that he had “nothing to hide.”