Rival mayoral candidates who challenge Eric Adams over whether he really lives in New York will have the opportunity to confront him on a debate stage Thursday night, after Mr Adams backtracked and said he would attend the event.
Mr Adams, the main candidate for the next mayor, had said he would skip the debate for a vigil in honor of a 10-year-old child killed in gun violence.
Then came two upside down days that rocked the overcrowded Democratic primary, which is almost certain to decide who will run the city as it seeks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Discrepancies have emerged in Mr Adams’ documents and his habit of spending sleepless nights in his Brooklyn Borough Hall office, reported by Politico, has raised questions about his real residence.
Mr. Adams’ attempted response in turn produced an unusual sight on Wednesday: reporters peering through the refrigerator and closets of an apartment in the basement of a building he owns in Brooklyn, where he says he lives.
By Thursday morning, the hubbub had grown to the point that, Adams said, his presence at the vigil for Justin Wallace, the 10-year-old killed in a shooting in Queens over the weekend, would be “a distraction.” painful. “
Mr. Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President, blamed his opponents, who accused him of concealing facts about his residence and even living in New Jersey, where he co-owns an apartment in Fort Lee with his partner – an eternal problem in a race where contestants have competed to find out who is and isn’t a true New Yorker. He said they tried to “politicize” the vigil.
On Thursday afternoon, however, Mr Adams – surrounded by steadfast supporters who said they didn’t care where he lived, slept or visited if he worked for their interests – seemed gleeful, as if savoring the skirmish.
“A question arose and I answered it,” he said, trotting to his car after speaking to city bus drivers at a depot in south Brooklyn. “I did it the New York way. I did not run away from it. I faced the problem head on, the same way I faced the bad guys as a police officer. “
His supporters at the event, transit workers and leaders of their union, Transport Workers Union Local 100, dismissed the allegations as a distraction launched by opponents like Andrew Yang, a former presidential candidate who is running for office. featured with Mr. Adams at the top of the polls, but in the latest poll he appeared to fall to third place behind Borough President and Maya Wiley, a former councilor to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Roberto Martinez, a bus driver and former police officer who said he remembers Mr. Adams from when the candidate was a police officer, called him a “real and blue New Yorker.”
“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “If you’re in Manhattan, you can see New Jersey. If that’s the best they have, forget it. The President of the United States lives in Washington, DC That doesn’t mean he doesn’t represent the people of Washington, DC and the people of New Hampshire. If he wants to go spend the weekend in Jersey with his girlfriend, I won’t mind.
The controversy surrounding Mr Adams’ residence is likely to have little bearing on his eligibility to run for mayor.
Even if he lived in New Jersey, state law only states that he must live in New York on election day in November, according to the state electoral board.