NEW YORK – Mayoress leader Eric Adams spent Wednesday morning trying to ask questions about where he sleeps with a tour of his crowded basement in Brooklyn and an emotional explanation for his insistence on privacy.
On Tuesday, POLITICO reported that Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President, had spent the night and kept late and early morning hours in the government building where he and his staff work. When he is not resting his head in the building owned by taxpayers, official documents and information provided by his campaign present conflicting accounts of where he lives.
In response, Adams and his team sought to answer questions about his residency on Wednesday with a press conference featuring vegan coffee and pastries, and provided new or changed details about his living situation while leaving several inconsistencies. outstanding.
The candidate, speaking outside his four-unit townhouse in Bedford-Stuyvesant, unequivocally denied that he lives in the co-op he owns with his longtime partner in Fort Lee, NJ.
“How stupid should someone be to run for mayor of New York City and live in another town?” Adams asked, standing next to his son, Jordan.
He did, however, call for the Garden State unit’s campaign events.
Adams participated in a pair of Mayors Forums in January and February across the Hudson, according to a POLITICO comparison of his virtual backdrop to real estate listings and floor plans of the property. Campaign adviser Evan Thies confirmed the location on Wednesday, shortly after Adams’ press conference.
Adams has also appeared at five online events hosted by the Borough President’s Office in 2020 from the New Jersey apartment.
His opponents seized on questions about his fate.
“I said Eric Adams is unscrupulous. He does not respect the highway code. He has been pursued by corruption inquiries wherever he has gone, ”another prominent candidate, Andrew Yang, said during a campaign shutdown Wednesday. “And now he probably lives in New Jersey.”
Yang, who was once the frontrunner in the Democratic primary, asked Adams to release his E-ZPass records for the past few years, adding, “If you’ve been to Brooklyn, it won’t show anything and we’ll move on. . “
Adams said he traveled to New Jersey periodically on weekends to visit his partner, Tracey Collins, but completely ignored interstate travel during the height of the pandemic last year, when he moved into his Brooklyn Borough Hall office to maximize time spent working. Until Saturday, he said, he hadn’t seen her for two months due to her busy work schedule.
“I never hid that I owned a co-op in New Jersey with Tracey, but my permanent home is in Brooklyn,” Adams said.
He said he spent most of his days campaigning before the Democratic primary on June 22, leaving him little time to fulfill his official duties as district president.
“I entered the town hall at 1 am, I work until 3:00 am with my employees who come because they believe – then I get up at 6:30 am, 7:00 am to go to the station,” he said. he declared. “It’s no mystery where I am.”
POLITICO observed Adams entering the government building several times around midnight during Memorial Day weekend, and a rival campaign spotted similar activity on four consecutive evenings last week.
Thies said Adams was traveling to New Jersey by government bus or car, and said he asked his government staff to provide E-ZPass records.
The accounting for his interstate trip was part of a tearful story Adams relayed outside his brownstone on Wednesday morning. He recalled an incident from his days as an outspoken member of the NYPD when someone shot his car on a pre-dawn drive – an event that prompted him to keep his personal life from that point on.
“My secret is my family,” he said. “I am committed for this life. They did not sign up for this life.
Yet at the same time, Adams and his team sought to clear up inconsistencies regarding his living conditions by offering new or changed details from the previous day.
Thies said on Tuesday, for example, that Adams lived in the basement of the house. Her son and a tenant lived on other floors of the property, and one unit was vacant. But on Wednesday, her son said he lives in New Jersey and stays overnight when in town late for college or work. And Thies said the vacant unit is now filled.
The interior of the basement unit, which Adams showed reporters, contained food and sneakers that did not appear to belong to the perfectly dressed 60-year-old vegan. Thies said Jordan spent time in his father’s apartment watching cable TV and sometimes slept on the sofa, but would go upstairs when his father came home.
He also said that Adams filled the vacant unit.
Adams bought the property in 2002 and, according to Thies, lived there on and off for years until he moved in permanently in 2017. Around 2013, he sold his share of a Prospect Heights co-op to his old one. girlfriend. and moved to an apartment on McKeever Place while doing renovations to the Lafayette Avenue home – a timeline confirmed by his voting record.
His opponents did not believe it.
“OK, can we just have a real conversation for a minute here?” It’s weird, ”said Maya Wiley, another prominent mayoral candidate, during a campaign stop in Manhattan. “I think there are simple questions that are just fundamental about where you live, Eric. And where are your tax returns? How many years have you been collecting rents on properties without declaring them? “
Despite the attempt at clarity, several pieces of information about Adams’ real estate portfolio remain unclear or inaccurately reported in government records.
His four-unit house is listed with the city’s housing agency as a three-unit house and is not registered, as required by multi-family buildings. Thies said the ministry’s website was not accurate and a representative from the agency did not respond to POLITICO’s questions.
Adams said he amended several years of tax returns to reflect missed rental income from 2017 to 2019 – something POLITICO discovered when comparing his returns to his financial statements filed with the city’s Conflict of Interest Council. The Adams campaign has yet to provide the clarified forms.
Questions also remain about Adams’ campaign offices. Thies said he used the space within MetroTech, a sprawling office campus near Borough Hall. It’s also where Frank Carone – the Brooklyn Democratic Party lawyer who unofficially supports Adams’ campaign – has offices.
His campaign fundraising records do not reflect any office rental payments in Carone. Adams confirmed on Wednesday that he was renting space from Carone in MetroTech – but campaign documents show no such payment.
Thies said it was included in a fee of $ 7,500 for asking Adams to pay Carone and would be more clearly delineated in a future filing.