Democratic Mayor in Hot Water After Possible Pay-for-Play Scheme

( – Eric Adams (D) served as the Brooklyn Borough President for eight years before winning the Democratic nomination as New York City (NYC) mayor in 2021. Now, an FBI probe into his campaign is investigating whether he leveraged his position in a pay-to-play scheme with Turkish consulate officials to better fund his mayoral campaign.

Agents first raided the home of Adams’ fundraising manager, Brianna Suggs, 25, on November 2, seizing electronics and campaign bank records, prompting the mayor to return to New York from Washington, DC, where he’d gone to meet with President Joe Biden. Six days later, the FBI raided Adams’ home, taking three cell phones and two iPads to examine for evidence. Boyd Johnson, the mayor’s campaign attorney, told reporters the mayor continued to cooperate fully with federal authorities and had reported a recently discovered impropriety.

The FBI inquiry centers around texts between Adams and Turkish Consul General Reyhan Özgür in September 2021 while the Brooklyn Borough President was campaigning to become NYC mayor. Moreover, the Turkish government was completing the construction of its new consulate headquarters in Manhattan. Özgür hoped to fast-track the building’s opening in anticipation of a visit from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to coincide with his visit to the General Assembly of the United Nations, located across the street from the new diplomatic hub.

On September 5, 2021, Özgür texted Adams, noting that the consulate still required a temporary certificate of occupancy (COO) to allow diplomatic personnel to begin moving into the building, and asked whether the Democratic mayoral candidate knew anyone who could help. Adams reached out to then-Fire Department of New York (FDNY) Commissioner Daniel Nigro, asking him to look into the matter.

On September 10, 2021, Nigro texted Adams, letting him know the required approval for the temporary COO would likely become available on September 13, 2021. The Turkevi Center skyscraper, home to the consulate, some apartments, prayer, meeting, and commercial space, celebrated its grand opening on September 21, 2021.

Yet questions swirled around whether the candidate received any financial benefit from helping Özgür and the Turkish government, leading to the FBI investigation. Rubén Díaz Jr., a former Bronx borough president, and City Councilman Kevin Riley, another Bronx Democrat, agreed that advocating for constituents and businesses is part of a borough president’s job. They see nothing wrong with what Adams did.

The FBI investigation remains ongoing, looking into whether the Turkish government or citizens might have illegally contributed funds to Adams’ campaign as repayment for his assistance in helping the consulate open in a politically timely manner.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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