The FBI’s investigation into potential campaign finance fraud in New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign has taken a new turn, with a focus on text messages suggesting Adams played a role in expediting the approval of the Turkish government’s new diplomatic headquarters in Manhattan. The texts, seized by FBI agents after temporarily confiscating Adams’ electronic devices, were exchanged in September 2021 between Adams, Turkish Consul General Reyhan Özgür, and then-FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.
It’s important to note that the Turkish consulate’s construction was already completed at the time of these exchanges, and Adams was the Brooklyn borough president and Democratic mayoral nominee, not yet the Mayor.
The content of the texts, while indicating Adams’ involvement in facilitating the consulate’s approval, appears less damning upon closer inspection. Özgür reached out to Adams seeking assistance in obtaining a “temporary certificate of occupancy” from the FDNY. Adams then contacted Nigro, requesting him to “look into it.” However, the messages did not provide specific instructions. Nigro responded that the certificate would be ready the following week, and the consulate received approval without complications.
As of now, the investigation does not suggest a direct link between Adams and illegal campaign contributions. The text messages depict a routine bureaucratic request regarding the consulate’s paperwork rather than a quid pro quo arrangement. While the FBI’s scrutiny continues, the current information does not portray a Watergate-level scandal directly involving Mayor Adams.
The broader campaign finance fraud investigation revolves around allegations that top Democratic fundraiser Brianna Suggs orchestrated donations from Turkey through straw donors, potentially influencing Adams’ campaign. There is currently no indication that Adams was aware of these alleged actions.
The outcome of the investigation remains uncertain, with potential legal consequences for individuals involved in campaign finance irregularities. The focus on Adams’ role in the Turkish consulate approval adds a layer to the ongoing scrutiny of his mayoral campaign.
Mayor Eric Adams, asked at a news conference if other members of his team had their phones seized as part of the FBI investigation, laughs and wants to stay on-topic: “We’re talking about helicopters.” pic.twitter.com/yqNwMn6x7F
— Emma G. Fitzsimmons (@emmagf) November 13, 2023