The FBI-seized communications of New York City Mayor Eric Adams might contain evidence of a pay-for-play campaign finance scheme where Adams allegedly admits to helping fast-tracking a new Turkish government headquarters in Manhattan, according to reports.
The texts from September 2021 when Adams was running as the Democrat nominee for mayor were exchanged with Turkish Consul General Reyhan Özgür and then-FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro, sources told the New York Post.
The texts are not evidence of criminal activity on the behalf of Adams, according to the reports, but pay-for-play schemes generally suggest political conflicts of interest and questionable ethics.
“I don’t think that should be a smoking gun,” former Bronx President Rubén Díaz Jr. told the Post. “I don’t see any issue at all. Every elected official makes calls to city agencies on behalf of entities, businesses and constituents. That is what we do.”
Adams reportedly texted Nigro about why the “temporary certificate of occupancy” had yet to be approved after Özgür sought Adams’ assistance, and the sources viewing the texts note there were no orders given from Adams, the then-Brooklyn borough president.
“As a borough president, part of my routine role was to notify government agencies of issues on behalf of constituents and constituencies,” Adams campaign wrote in a statement to The New York Times when reached for comment on the reports. “I have not been accused of wrongdoing, and I will continue to cooperate with investigators.”
Notably, the Brooklyn president, Adams had no authority or stake over the Manhattan building, but he was the Democrat mayoral nominee and therefore was expected to be elected mayor in the reliably blue city and therefore had burgeoning influence over operations that were not yet under his purview, according to the Times.
Nigro, the U.S. Attorneys office, and FBI could not be reached for comment by the Post.
The FBI seized Adams’ devices in an investigation into whether the Turkish government or Turkish citizens illegally funneled donations to Adams’ campaign under “straw donors” that seek to obscure a potential foreign influence peddling scheme, according to the report.
The seizure of the devices, first reported by the Times, came four days after federal agents searched the Brooklyn home of Adams’ top campaign fundraiser Brianna Suggs. That search prompted the mayor to cancel a planned trip to meet with White House officials in Washington and instead return to New York.
Adams’ defense is he was unaware of campaign finance wrongdoing.
“After learning of the federal investigation, it was discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly,” Adams’ attorney Boyd Johnson said in a Friday statement. “In the spirit of transparency and cooperation, this behavior was immediately and proactively reported to investigators.
The focus of the investigation has not been publicly disclosed by prosecutors, but a search warrant obtained by Times indicated authorities are examining whether the Adams campaign conspired with the Turkish government to receive donations from foreign sources.
The warrant also requested information about Adams’ use of New York City’s matching funds program, which provides candidates with an eightfold match of a city resident’s first donations.
Over the summer, Manhattan prosecutors brought charges against six people who allegedly sought to manipulate the fundraising program to funnel tens of thousands of dollars to Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign. Adams has not been charged in that case.
A campaign spokesperson said the FBI has since returned some, but not all, of Adams’ devices.
Information from The Associated Press was used to compile this report.
Eric Mack | firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.