Adams Residential Portfolio
“I own a small property, so I’m real estate too,” Adams said at a Mayors Forum in October, zooming in on the LGBT-focused Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club from a dark, indescribable location featuring what Gay City News described as “a rainbow striped backdrop.
Indeed, the Borough President owns a three-unit townhouse in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and a co-op in Fort Lee, NJ, which he purchased with his partner, according to property records.
He also bought a co-op in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights with someone in 1992 and continues to list that property on government records, although he says he hasn’t lived there for nearly 10 years. He included this address on the registration forms for his current 2017 mayoral and borough president campaigns. His staff also added their Bed-Stuy property to the 2021 campaign form.
Adams made a political contribution to Staten Island Assembly member Charles Fall last summer from the Prospect Place address, state records show, even though someone else was living in unity at the time.
Campaign adviser Evan Thies said Adams ceded his share of that unit to the other owner and no longer had a stake in the property. The campaign will change documents that include the address of Prospect Place, he added.
He said Adams had lived on Lafayette Avenue in Bed-Stuy for almost a decade and provided several utility bills to corroborate this. Yet other official documents and a recent media report cloud this claim.
For starters, Adams is registered to vote on the first floor of 936 Lafayette Avenue. However, a tenant who has lived there for years is listed under the same accommodation in several documents obtained by POLITICO. And last month, the City Limits publication reported that most of Adams’s neighbors didn’t know he lived in their neighborhood, or that he was running for mayor.
To complicate matters further, Adams’ voter registration form shows a change of address in January – the day after a Daily News article that asked why the Bed-Stuy property was not registered with city housing agency, as required by multi-family units. Thies said the change was a clerical update from a previous address and Adams had been registered to vote at Bed-Stuy since 2017. He added that the property had been registered with the city, although the site Web of the housing agency always indicates it. does not have.
He also said Adams lived in the basement apartment but rarely slept there due to his busy schedule as an elected official and mayoral candidate. The confusion over who occupies the first floor likely stems from a recent renovation that resulted in a change in the number of units, Thies said.
Adams has long had tenants in his home on Avenue Lafayette, but did not report rental income on his tax returns in 2017, 2018 and 2019, POLITICO previously reported. Thies said he changed the statements but has not yet provided a copy of the change.
Before Covid-19, Adams periodically spent the night at Fort Lee, according to Thies. But once he made Borough Hall home as the pandemic hit New York City, he stopped crossing state borders to visit his partner. After the virus disappeared, he stayed in the New Jersey unit several times, Thies said, but has not been there for months due to his campaign schedule. Instead, he and his partner meet in the city, he added.
And while most mayoral candidates identified with their Zoom settings – the sophisticated lighting of Ray McGuire; Maya Wiley’s Disruptive Domestic Cats – Adams logged into virtual events from at least 19 origins, including a moving car, and debated opponents from an indescribable booth last month, POLITICO observations show .
Burn midnight oil
If Adams wins the election, the next occupant of Town Hall will keep distinctly different hours from those of current Mayor Bill de Blasio who, before the pandemic, was known to arrive at the office mid-morning after practice at Park Slope. Y.
Over the past two weeks, the former police captain has appeared to spend many of his waking – and sleeping – hours at Borough Hall.
Unlike all the other candidates in the race, the Adams campaign did not regularly publish its daily public timetable. POLITICO and sources on rival campaigns observed him arrive at the government building around midnight four nights in a row last week and several nights the week before, including Memorial Day weekend. On several of these occasions, Adams did not leave until the next morning and other people who did not appear to be maintenance staff were seen entering the building in the middle of the night.
Unlike last year – when Adams slept in Borough Hall for months due to his busy pandemic itinerary – a review of his 2021 schedule obtained through an Freedom of Information request shows little official work. In the second week of April, for example, Adams only attended three events and had a few calls with the staff. Most of each day was spent on non-government work and details were redacted. The vague notes on Adams’ plans to be outside Brooklyn match his active campaign pace.
His team says Adams is just working hard on behalf of Brooklyn residents after long days of campaigning.
“He has a lot of responsibilities and official business that he has to do by law,” Thies said Tuesday. “He must personally sign each FOIL request; it must approve every land use action, every investment budget allocation. He walks into Borough Hall around 1 and 2 a.m. and goes to his office where there’s a pile of stuff waiting for him and he goes through it because that’s what he’s paid for.
Thies described several places – including a sparse booth from which he called for debate and a FOX interview and a brighter office where he hosted an MSNBC spot – as a space within MetroTech, a sprawling campus of offices near Borough Hall.
This is also where Frank Carone, an attorney for the Brooklyn Democratic Party who unofficially supports Adams’ campaign, has an office.
Adams’ spending – which was last updated by the Campaign Fundraising Council on May 21 – shows just 13 office rent payments totaling $ 23,612 during the multi-year campaign. None of these mention MetroTech – a discrepancy Thies explained by saying the rent may have been bundled into a payment requested from Carone’s law firm, Abrams Fensterman.
Carone, meanwhile, represents clients with pre-city affairs, including a grocery store that lobbied Adams’ office in 2018 over real estate issues, according to a recent report in THE CITY.
In addition to Brooklyn Borough Hall, Adams has access to a city-owned Toyota SUV that he recently used to participate in campaign events. POLITICO spotted him arriving at a press conference in Long Island City on May 29 and at an event in Flushing the next day in the government car.
And while last month he conducted an interview from the passenger seat of a moving car that appears to be a rental from Bical Auto Mall, he also zoomed in on at least one forum from what looks like the interior of an urban vehicle.
“He never used Borough Hall or the Borough Hall car for anything other than government business,” Thies said. “The car drops him off at events and if he travels exclusively for campaign-related things and does campaign work, he uses a country car.”
City council rules on conflict of interest state that elected officials are allowed to use their government cars when traveling to personal events, although this practice is often criticized by government reform groups.
Adams has often criticized Andrew Yang for swapping his Manhattan apartment for his second home in the Hudson Valley during the height of the pandemic. Yet Adams’ account of his own whereabouts over the years is far from clear.
At a recent campaign event, Adams, who speaks often in the third person, said, “You never have to say in the history of this town: where have you been Eric?
Amanda Eisenberg and Erin Durkin contributed to this report.