New York City’s Democratic Mayor Eric Adams is revealed to have closer ties to an ongoing federal corruption investigation than previously disclosed, according to newly obtained documents by Politico. These documents highlight Adams’ participation in over 80 events focused on Turkey, a connection central to the corruption inquiry.
As previously reported, Adams’ chief campaign fundraiser, Brianna Suggs, became the subject of an FBI search warrant on November 2. Following the search at Suggs’s residence, the FBI seized Adams’ electronic devices before November 10. The investigation centers on potential illegal campaign donations from Turkey to Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign.
During his tenure as Brooklyn borough president in NYC, Adams had a significant relationship with Turkey, attending more than 80 events celebrating or commemorating the country, many hosted by Turkish businesses and industry groups. Turkish Airlines, a major host, had previously sponsored Adams at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan, reportedly covering one of his trips to Turkey in 2015—an alleged gift not disclosed in his financial forms for that year.
— Andrew Giambrone (@AndrewGiambrone) November 15, 2023
Upon assuming the mayoral position, Adams appointed Cenk Öcal, a Turkish Airlines executive, to his mayoral transition team, specifically focusing on infrastructure matters. Multiple reports suggest that Adams’ travels were funded by the Turkish government through its consulate general in New York City, enabling him to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and engage with various Turkish diplomatic officials in the United States, including the Turkish consul general.
In October 2022, Adams’ chief of staff, Frank Carone, and NYC’s international affairs commissioner, Edward Mermelstein, attended an Istanbul real estate conference to promote Turkish investment in the city, with Adams addressing the conference virtually. Notably, this event was omitted from the mayor’s public schedule.
The ongoing FBI investigation is centered on donations made to Adams by KSK Construction Group, a Turkish-owned business in Brooklyn, and Bay Atlantic University in Washington, D.C., owned by a Turkish businessman. Employees of these organizations contributed substantial amounts to Adams’ 2021 campaign.
Additional funds were reportedly injected by individuals associated with the Turken Foundation and the Turkish American National Steering Committee, characterized as “pro-Erdogan groups” by the Times. The inquiry is also examining Adams’ involvement in facilitating the opening of the Turkish Consulate-General in New York City in 2021.
According to reports, Adams allegedly influenced the NYC Fire Department’s then-Commissioner, Daniel Nigro, to grant the $300 million facility a certificate of occupancy, even though the FDNY had initially refused, temporarily providing the certificate after Adams’ intervention. Erdogan later officially inaugurated the building during a visit to the United States.