New York City Mayor Eric Adams was at the heart of a press conference on March 16, 2022, where CNN revealed that the FBI is investigating potential campaign finance violations, the possibility of undue favors, and potential foreign influence.
Officials briefed on the investigation informed CNN that the FBI is specifically looking into Mayor Adams’ ties to the Turkish-American community and the nature of his numerous trips to Turkey. They are also scrutinizing the Mayor’s contacts with Turkish government officials in New York and Turkey, to determine if foreign interests played a role in influencing Adams’ political decisions.
The investigation also involves allegations concerning a Brooklyn-based construction company owned by a Turkish-American businessman, who apparently orchestrated a scheme to funnel money into the Adams campaign. Sources familiar with the investigation told CNN that FBI agents have evidence indicating that checks and wire transfers from the company exceeded legal donation limits and skirted campaign finance laws.
This is a complex and potentially damaging investigation, given the nature of Adams’ relationship with Turkish-American communities and the value of potential projects in New York City that could require permits and interactions with multiple city agencies.
The investigation has taken a dramatic turn as well, with nearly 100 FBI agents executing search warrants or conducting interviews at multiple locations simultaneously on November 2. The FBI’s focus on Adams has led to calls for cooperation and, according to Lisa Zornberg, chief counsel to the mayor, ongoing cooperation with investigators.
The investigation also involves allegations related to the construction of the Turkish Mission to the United Nations. Sources briefed on the investigation revealed that Adams may have used his influence as Brooklyn Borough President to expedite permits for the building, potentially waiving certain safety requirements. This has added another layer of complexity to the investigation as it delves into potential misuse of power and influence.
Although the investigation has impacted high-ranking officials close to Adams, including former Deputy NYPD Commissioner John Miller, Mayor Adams himself has not been accused of any wrongdoing. However, the FBI’s ongoing scrutiny underlies a potentially critical moment in the career of New York City’s mayor.
The investigation continues, with major implications for not only Adams himself but the political landscape in New York City and beyond. The unfolding nature of the investigation and the potential fallout if any wrongdoing is uncovered adds a layer of intrigue to the situation.