Turkey and Mayor Adams’ Campaign Face FBI Scrutiny: What You Should Know!

Estimated read time 6 min read

When federal agents raided the home of Mayor Eric Adams’s main fundraiser on November 2, a criminal investigation into how Mr. Adams raised money for his 2021 campaign became public. According to a search order obtained by The New York Times, federal prosecutors and the F.B.I. are looking into whether the campaign worked with members of the Turkish government, including the consulate of Turkey in New York, to get illegal donations.

Mr. Adams has already been in office for two years and has already had to deal with a migrant crisis, the city’s slow recovery from the pandemic, and a lot of attention on the chaotic and violent conditions at the Rikers Island jail complex.

The mayor has already raised more than $2.5 million for his re-election bid in 2025, so the investigation into how he raised money for the campaign may be the hardest thing he has had to deal with personally and in terms of public relations. Our knowledge about the study is shown below.

What Are the Federal Authorities Investigating?

Turkey and Mayor Adams' Campaign Face FBI Scrutiny

The full scope of the federal criminal investigation is not yet clear, but one of the main questions being looked into is whether Mr. Adams’s campaign for 2021 worked with the Turkish government and Turkish citizens to get illegal contributions.

The search warrant says that federal prosecutors and the F.B.I. are also looking into the part of KSK Construction, a building company in Brooklyn owned by Turkish immigrants that put together a fundraiser for Mr. Adams in May 2021.

According to the search warrant, investigators were also looking into whether anyone connected to the mayor’s campaign gave the construction company, its workers, or Turkish officials any legal or illegal benefits. These could include anything from government action to financial favors.

Who is Brianna Suggs?

Turkey and Mayor Adams' Campaign Face FBI Scrutiny

Ms. Brianna Suggs was a 23-year-old former intern with little work experience when Mr. Adams’s campaign hired her to run the fund-raising for his successful mayoral race in 2021. Now that she is 25, she is involved in a huge federal probe.

Even before she graduated from Brooklyn College in 2020, Ms. Suggs worked for Mr. Adams when he was borough president of Brooklyn. She’s friends with both Mr. Adams and Ingrid Lewis-Martin, who is his top aide and confidante. People who met her at campaign fundraisers thought she was smart and easy to work with.

Even after Mr. Adams won the election, Ms. Suggs was still an important part of his campaign for money. No one has accused her of anything wrong. Federal officers searched her Crown Heights home and took away two laptops, three iPhones, and a folder marked “Eric Adams.”

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How Does Mr. Adams Fit In?

Mr. Adams hasn’t been blamed for anything bad. It was the morning of the raid, and the mayor was in Washington, D.C. He was there to talk about the migrant situation with White House staff and members of Congress.

Turkey and Mayor Adams' Campaign Face FBI Scrutiny

He suddenly called off the talks and went back to New York. Afterward, he said he rushed back to be with his team and support Ms. Suggs. “Even though I’m mayor, I’m still a man and a person,” he said, adding that he hadn’t talked to his assistant about the raid.

Have the Authorities Approached Mr. Adams Directly?

A few days after raiding Ms. Suggs’ house, federal agents met Mr. Adams at the end of an event in Manhattan, told his security team to leave, and got into his SUV with him. The FBI took at least two cell phones and an iPad from the mayor, made copies of them, and then gave them back to him within days, according to the mayor’s lawyer.

A lawyer for Mr. Adams and his campaign said in a statement that the mayor was working with federal officials and had already “proactively reported” at least one case of bad behavior after The Times wrote about the seizure. The lawyer, Boyd Johnson, said, “After learning of the federal investigation, it was found that someone had recently done something wrong.”

“This behavior was reported to investigators right away and voluntarily out of an attitude of openness and cooperation.” According to Mr. Johnson, Mr. Adams had not been charged with any crimes and had “immediately complied with the F.B.I.’s request and provided them with electronic devices.” Mr. Johnson didn’t name the person who was said to have done something wrong.

Turkey and Mayor Adams' Campaign Face FBI Scrutiny

Also, he didn’t go into detail about the behavior that was reported to the police or make it clear if the behavior that was reported had anything to do with the mayor’s devices being taken away. Because the investigation is still going on, a spokesman for Mr. Adams’s campaign said it would be inappropriate to talk about those problems.

“As a former member of law enforcement, I expect all members of my staff to follow the law and fully cooperate with any kind of investigation,” Mr. Adams said in his own statement. “And I will continue to do exactly that.” Not only that, but he had “nothing to hide.”

What Does Turkey Have to Do with It?

Three people with knowledge of the situation say that the federal government is looking into something that happened between Mr. Adams and the brand-new Turkish consulate building in New York after he won the Democratic vote for mayor in the summer of 2021.

It was planned that the Turkish consulate general would open its new building in time for the September meeting of the UN General Assembly. The Turkish government had plans to improve fire safety, but the Fire Department hadn’t approved them yet, and those plans had a number of issues that could stop them.

Turkey and Mayor Adams' Campaign Face FBI Scrutiny

As borough president of Brooklyn, Mr. Adams built relationships with Turkish people in the area and with officials from the Turkish government. The latter paid for part of his 2015 trip to Turkey. Adams has said that he has been to Turkey six or seven times. Once he won the Democratic nod, Mr. Adams was almost certain to become New York City’s next mayor.

People say that he called Daniel A. Nigro, who was Fire Commissioner at the time, and told him that the Turkish government wanted to use the building at least temporarily. The city finally gave the building a temporary certificate of occupancy. It is in Midtown Manhattan, close to the United Nations.

The unusual action made it possible for Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, to open the $300 million, 35-story tower during his trip to New York in September 2021, even though the building’s fire safety system had many problems, according to city records and people who know about the situation. During the ribbon-cutting, Mr. Erdogan said that the building showed Turkey’s “increased power.”

Turkey and Mayor Adams' Campaign Face FBI Scrutiny

When The Times asked questions, Mr. Adams’s team sent out a statement from the mayor. “Part of my job as borough president was to let government agencies know about problems on behalf of my constituents and constituencies,” Mr. Adams said. “No one has accused me of doing anything wrong, and I will continue to help investigators.”

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