Eric Adams After FBI Seizes His Phones: 'I Have Not Been Accused of Wrongdoing'

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
November 13, 2023

New York City mayor Eric Adams (D.) said after the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized his electronics that he has "not been accused of wrongdoing."

"I have not been accused of wrongdoing, and I will continue to cooperate with investigators," Adams told the New York Times in a report published Sunday. Though neither Adams nor his 2021 mayoral campaign has been accused of wrongdoing, federal investigators are looking into whether he and his campaign conspired with Turkey's government and a construction company owned by Turkish immigrants to receive illegal contributions. The FBI seized his electronics and raided the home of his chief fundraiser earlier this month as part of the investigation.

Adams when he was Brooklyn borough president cultivated ties to the Turkish government and Turkish residents of the borough, according to the Times. One incident in the outlet's report that investigators are examining is the 2021 opening of a 35-story building to house the Turkish consulate in Manhattan. New York's fire department had not approved the building's safety plans in late summer 2021, so Turkey could not yet occupy it.

Adams, who had by then won the Democratic nomination for mayor, asked the city's fire commissioner at the time to allow the Turkish government to use the building on a temporary basis, which the city permitted despite problems with the building's fire safety system, the Times reported. That approval allowed Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to preside over an opening ceremony for the building, which is still using a temporary certificate of occupancy to operate, during his visit to the United Nations in September 2021.

"As a borough president, part of my routine role was to notify government agencies of issues on behalf of constituents and constituencies," Adams told the Times.

Also under investigation is KSK Construction, a Turkish-immigrant-owned company that organized a fundraising event for Adams in May 2021. It does not appear to have been involved in the building of the consulate, according to the Times.

This is not the first time Adams's ethical practices have come under scrutiny. In March, his sister-in-law, Sharon Adams, received a job in the city's Department of Education after an ethics board for the city blocked him from making his brother a deputy commissioner for the city's police department.

"I have a firewall [between] what happens in the DOE and what happens here at City Hall," Adams said regarding the appointment, according to the New York Post. "I do know this, Sharon’s an educator, well qualified." He added that there are "very clear rules" for the employment by the city of a relative of the mayor.

"We comply with those rules," he said.