By Harut Sassounian,
Publisher, The California Courier
The FBI has now expanded its investigation of the alleged illegal fundraising links between New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ campaign and Turkish officials and individuals.
I reported last week that the FBI had raided the home of the Mayor’s campaign fundraiser, seizing three iPhones, two computers and various files. Boyd Johnson, an attorney retained by Adams, said that after the raid, “it was discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly.”
Since then, the FBI unexpectedly stopped the Mayor in the street and took his two cellphones and iPad, after obtaining a search warrant from the court. The FBI copied the contents of his electronic devices and returned them to the Mayor. Adams cancelled a planned trip to Puerto Rico to attend an important political conference.
There are three significant aspects to this latest development:
1) The Federal Government is getting closer to investigating the personal links between the Mayor and Turkish officials and individuals who may have made illegal contributions to his political campaign.
2) In order to obtain a search warrant from the court, the FBI had to present to the judge credible evidence of possible wrongdoing by the Mayor or his campaign. A similar warrant was obtained from court before searching the home of the Mayor’s fundraiser last week.
3) The reason the Mayor was unexpectedly stopped in the street to take his electronic devices was to prevent him from having the opportunity to delete or alter information on his devices.
The New York Times reported on Nov. 12, 2023, that the FBI is “examining whether Adams cleared Red Tape for the Turkish government.” According to the news report, “after winning the 2021 Democratic Mayoral primary, Eric Adams successfully pressed [New York] city officials to allow the opening of a Manhattan high-rise building housing the Turkish Consulate.”
The New York Times revealed that “the Federal authorities are investigating whether Mayor Eric Adams weeks before his election two years ago, pressured New York Fire Department officials to sign off on the Turkish government’s new high-rise consulate in Manhattan despite safety concerns with the building, three people with knowledge of the matter said.”
The New York Times added: “After winning the Democratic mayoral primary in July, Adams contacted then-Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro in late summer 2021 and urged him to allow the Turkish government to occupy the building at least on a temporary basis. The building had yet to open because fire officials had cited safety issues and declined to sign off on its occupancy, the people said…. The building is still operating under a temporary certificate of occupancy, records show.”
The Mayor’s intervention made it possible for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “to preside over the grand opening of the $300 million, 35-story tower on his September 2021 visit to New York for the U.N. General Assembly, despite numerous flaws in its fire safety system, according to the people familiar with the matter and city records,” according to The New York Times.
“The federal criminal inquiry has focused at least in part on whether Adams’ 2021 campaign conspired with the Turkish government, including its consulate general in New York, to illegally funnel foreign money into its coffers, according to a search warrant obtained by The New York Times for an F.B.I. search this month of the home of the mayor’s chief fund-raiser…. Adams’ ties to the Turkish government and community stretch back years. As Brooklyn borough president, he actively wooed wealthy members of the Turkish community in south Brooklyn. In August 2015, the Turkish consulate in New York paid for Adams’ airfare, hotel and ground transportation for a trip to Turkey, according to financial disclosure records. There, Adams signed a sister-city agreement with Istanbul’s Uskudar municipality, one of several he executed with foreign cities he traveled to as borough president. He also visited Bahcesehir University, founded by the same Turkish philanthropist who founded Bay Atlantic University in Washington, D.C.,” The New York Times reported.
Furthermore, the FBI is investigating “the role of KSK Construction, a Brooklyn building company owned by Turkish immigrants that organized a fund-raising event for Adams on May 7, 2021. On that day, 48 donors, including the company’s owners, employees and their families, along with others in the construction and real estate industries, donated $43,600, Adams’ campaign reports show. Those contributions enabled him to obtain another $48,000 in public matching funds for a total of nearly $92,000,” according to The New York Times.
Three American members of the board of the Turken Foundation, which was founded by Bilal Erdogan, the son of President Erdogan, donated $6,000 to Adams’ campaign between 2018 and 2021, according to The City website. The foundation is registered as a foreign agent with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Oddly, Eric Adams, then-Brooklyn borough president, played himself in a 2017 Turkish romantic comedy film, ‘Fairytale of New York,’ where two Turkish men ask him for political favors but he says he can’t understand them. Adams tells the Turks in the film: “Brooklyn loves Turkey. Brooklyn is the Istanbul of America. We love your food, we love your music, but I don’t understand Turkish, we can take a selfie though.”