Mayor Eric Adams has publicly dismissed any personal connection to illicit campaign fundraising in the wake of an FBI raid that searched the home of his principal fundraiser, propelling his campaign to commit to an in-depth scrutiny of its financial dealings.
“I am outraged and angry if anyone attempted to misuse the campaign to subvert our democracy and defraud our campaign,” Adams articulated, emphasizing his disconnection from the supposed violations.
Adams Asserts Campaign Integrity
Adams’ campaign lawyer, Vito Pitta, has confirmed the start of an audit of relevant campaign operations and documentation.
He noted that, despite the ongoing inquiry, the mayor has not been contacted by any investigative authorities.
On Thursday morning, federal agents raided the Brooklyn residence of Brianna Suggs, a leading campaign fundraiser for Adams.
The raid prompted Mayor Adams, who had left on a plane to go to the nation’s capital, to abruptly turn around and not participate in discussions on the migrant crisis in Washington, D.C., with fellow Democratic mayors.
A source familiar with the campaign highlighted Suggs’ central role to The City, stating, “She was deeply involved with all aspects, particularly fundraising.”
The Mayor’s Proactive Stance on Allegations
Upon his return, Adams was confronted with allegations that his campaign accepted donations from foreign sources. He delineated the stringent review processes in place within his campaign to ensure all contributions are lawful.
“We enforce a very strict review to do the best we can and ensure that the funds we receive are appropriate,” Adams affirmed. He further described Suggs as “a true professional,” expressing anticipation of her comprehensive cooperation with the investigations.
Despite not having received any direct communication from law enforcement agencies, Mayor Adams chose to return to New York City to be present and “gather precise information about the evolving situation.”
On Thursday evening at an event in Gracie Mansion, he reiterated his campaign’s commitment to ethical conduct and full cooperation with the ongoing inquiry. “I hold my campaign to the highest ethical standards. Any inquiry that is done, we’re going to fully participate and make sure that it’s done correctly,” said Adams.
Investigation Details: Scrutinizing the Fundraiser’s Role
A political consultant who knows Suggs described her as “hard-working and deeply involved” in the campaign efforts but possibly “too trusting and having taken on more than she could handle.”
The focus of the federal search at Suggs’ residence is investigating potentially illegal contributions from foreign nationals, with a specific spotlight on Turkey.
While the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan has refrained from commenting, the New York Times disclosed that the search warrant pertained to Mayor Adams’ campaign receiving unlawful foreign donations, particularly to Turkey, including trips made by campaign affiliates.
The warrant detailed that the target was Suggs’ financial records, along with any assets associated with or under her control, extending to her electronic communication devices, such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
Mayor Adams and the Turkish Connection
“I have no knowledge, direct or otherwise, of any inappropriate fundraising practices — and certainly not of any foreign funds,” Adams stated.
The investigation also examines a Brooklyn-based construction company and a D.C. university with ties to the Turkish government.
Records reveal significant contributions from individuals affiliated with the construction firm to Adams’ campaign, raising questions among federal authorities.
Adams, who has visited Turkey at least half a dozen times as a state senator and Brooklyn borough president, has previously celebrated the bilateral ties he fostered, focusing on trade, culture, and public safety.
Suggs’ Continued Influence and Remuneration
Suggs, whose LinkedIn profile denotes her role as a “Fundraiser and Director of Logistics” in Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign, was pivotal in raising $18.4 million for the campaign.
Recent reports suggest she has continued her role, securing more than 2.7 million funds for Adams’ 2025 re-election campaign.
City records also show that Suggs, who served as an aide to Adams during his time as the president of Brooklyn Borough, is currently on a monthly retainer for the mayor’s political ventures.
Campaign finance filings disclose that she has received personal payments exceeding $16,500 from Adams’ campaign accounts.
Moreover, since January 2022, Suggs has been compensated with over $100,000 by Al Cockfield’s PAC, “Striving for a Better New York,” as per state campaign finance records.
Previous Investigations and Their Implications
This inquiry adds to previous ones uncovering connections between Adams’ close associates and the real estate industry, including bribery and straw donor conspiracies leading to several indictments.
Eric Ulrich, formerly an official in Adams’ administration, faced accusations in September regarding the exchange of political favors for monetary bribes exceeding $150,000.
In July, six individuals faced charges for a straw donation scheme to support Adams’ 2021 campaign.
Straw donations, a method of concealing the true source of campaign funds, violate campaign finance laws designed to maintain the integrity of electoral processes.
Although Mayor Adams has not been directly implicated in these prior incidents, the current investigation into his campaign’s fundraising activities poses a new set of challenges. Carrie Cohen, a former federal prosecutor, commented on the seriousness of a Justice Department investigation into campaign finance practices, suggesting that there could be significant legal ramifications if wrongdoing is discovered.