Eric Adams on Friday defended his campaign fundraising chief after a FBI raid on her home, declaring that sometimes ‘there is smoke without fire’.
The mayor of New York City was in Washington DC on Thursday morning as the FBI descended on the home of Brianna Suggs, 25. Adams cut short his trip to the White House and immediately returned to New York.
They are looking into whether he received illegal campaign contributions, and whether kickbacks were given to Turkish government officials via a Brooklyn-based constriction company, KSK Construction.
In a strange twist, it emerged on Friday that a welfare check was requested for Suggs’ home on Wednesday night – hours before the FBI raid.
Eric Adams on Friday told Pix11 he believed there was no wrongdoing in his 2021 campaign, declaring: ‘Sometimes there is smoke without fire’
Brianna Suggs, 25, is a top fundraiser for Eric Adams’ campaign
The check was requested by an official from NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, who called the 77th Precinct headquarters in Brooklyn to ask for the visit, according to The Messenger.
NYPD officers were seen driving down Suggs’ street at 7:45pm, photos obtained by the news site show.
The Internal Affairs Bureau asked the officers to find out the names of everyone who lived at the house.
A man who arrived at the home said his daughter and his mother lived there.
Officers were seen entering the house, and leaving a short while later.
A former federal law enforcement official told The Messenger that a wellness check for unknown occupants was highly unusual, and suggested a leak about the investigation.
Another former federal official said: ‘It’s weird.’
The FBI raid was carried out on Thursday morning while Adams was in DC
FBI agents are pictured on Thursday morning at the property where Suggs, her father and her grandmother are believed to live
Neither Adams nor Suggs have been accused of any wrongdoing, and Adams said on Friday he was confident his team had acted within the law. He vowed to cooperate fully with any investigation, but said he had not been contacted by law enforcement.
Adams on Friday told Pix11 News that he was confident there had been no malfeasance.
‘Where there is smoke there is not always fire,’ he said.
‘I make sure that we have real compliance. I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sure that’s done correctly.
‘And we’re going to comply with any agency that review whatever we do.
‘And if anyone did anything inappropriate outside of our compliance procedures, law enforcement agencies will determine that.’
Adams said the case was ‘new and evolving’, but insisted that he and his team would ‘comply 100 percent.’
‘I have not been contacted by any law enforcement agency and no law enforcement agency has determined that anyone associated with our campaign did anything wrong,’ the mayor added.
Adams said he had not been in contact with Suggs since the raid, but had full confidence in her and hoped she would carry on working for his campaign.
‘She is a very bright, energetic smart young lady who worked hard,’ he said.
‘She led the fundraising numbers when you look at the entire campaign.
‘I have full confidence in her integrity and how hard she worked.
‘Often young African American ladies don’t get the opportunity that others receive in the business of politics, and she stood up.’
‘From an intern, became a good staffer, and ran our entire fundraising apparatus. And she stood up.’
FBI agents are seen on Thursday outside the Crown Heights home
He added: ‘She has done an amazing job. She will stay with the campaign team and I would love to have her to stay with the campaign team.’
Adams insisted he was right to abandon his planned meeting at the White House to discuss migration – a meeting he had sought for many months – to return to New York.
He told Pix11 that it was because he likes ‘to be on the ground’, adding: ‘That’s who I am.’
Adams, a former NYPD captain, denied that his ditching the migrant crisis meeting should concern New Yorkers, saying he was confident he was ‘building a coalition’ of mayors to address the issue.
He said he intended to go back to Washington DC to raise the issue again.
Asked whether he was aware of KSK Construction, Adams replied: ‘Not to my knowledge.’
He added: ‘I cannot tell you how many thousands of people contribute to our campaign.
‘I attend so many different fundraisers, meet so many different people throughout the part of raising funds.
‘I am not familiar with this organization at all. It’s one of many different groups and organizations that contribute to the campaign.
‘And again, we have a very strict compliance.
‘Before any check is deposited, our compliance team reviews those checks to make sure it meets not only the standards of the CFB but also meets my stringent standards as well.’
Adams defended Suggs, and defended his ties to Turkey
The mayor also defended his ties to Turkey.
Last week, at a flag-raising ceremony in Manhattan, Adams boasted that no other mayor had visited Turkey as often as he had.
Adams told Pix11 that it was because of ‘a fascination with the diversity of our city.’
‘No mayor has been to the number of African countries that I have visited. And many other countries that I have visited for the first time,’ he said.
‘I don’t know any other mayor that probably went to Saudi Arabia, or Oman. Or has visited some of the South American and Central American countries that I have visited.
‘It’s a fascination with the diversity of our city.
‘We have one of the largest Turkish populations in New York City. I think Patterson, New Jersey, is the only place that is higher than ours.
‘I had a deep relationship with the community when I was Brooklyn president, as well as other communities.
‘I believe in the diversity of this city, and I think nothing does more to show respect than visit the homeland of these communities.’
Adams said he had no business interests in Turkey, but had met many mayors who ‘wanted to establish a rich relationship with New York City.’
The 63-year-old laughed when asked if the FBI investigation was distracting him from running the city.
‘This is New York!’ he said, chuckling.
‘How many times have you heard me say: stay focused and grind. There are things every day that could see you distracted.
‘If you are the mayor of the city of New York, you have to continue to remain focused and not get distracted by everything that comes up.’