A leading New York City mayoral candidate was in the uncomfortable position of having to prove that he lived in the city he wants to represent – and in fact already has represented for more than 14 years. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams went so far as to invite more than a dozen journalists this morning to the Bedford-Stuyvesant townhouse that he bought in 2002 to give a tour and respond to the bombshell Politico New York report that raised questions about where Adams sleeps at night – and whether it’s more often at Borough Hall or a second home he owns with his partner in Fort Lee, New Jersey, rather than in Bed-Stuy.
Famous for once suggesting invasive tours of your children’s rooms, Adams was now inviting press to take a close look at his. Suffice to say, the press event answered some questions, but raised more. To be clear, the apartment was riddled with memorabilia from Adams’ career in politics and law enforcement. But there was evidence that Adams’ 25-year-old son, Jordan Coleman, spends more time there than his dad, from the decidedly non-Adams sneaker collection to the decidedly non-vegan fridge. Adams and Coleman don’t explicitly deny it – both said Coleman lives primarily in New Jersey, but often crashes at his dad’s place, since he’s currently in a master’s program at Brooklyn College. And Adams hasn’t been coy about the fact that he has slept at Brooklyn Borough Hall – even though the extent to which he still does, “I would say about two nights a week (sleeping) on average, three hours a night,” – went unreported until this week.
It’s hard not to sound conspiratorial when you’re talking about a candidate’s residency, especially when the Adams campaign does have a totally odd, but overarching explanation for the questions raised by Politico’s reporting: Adams is a grinder who works ridiculously long hours and is messy with paperwork. Inconsistencies with the voter registrations of Adams and his longtime partner, Tracey Collins, will surely be reported out more fully in the coming days, as will Adams’ record of visiting Collins in New Jersey, since he promised to provide E-ZPass data that would record his trips across the Hudson River. But at least one Adams staffer was quick to confirm Adams’ claim that the people Politico reported coming into Borough Hall in the wee hours of the morning were his government staffers. Adams said today he was coming “into Borough hall at 1 in the morning, working until 3 or 4 (a.m.) with my staffers who come in because they believe.” A former government staffer, Rachel Atcheson, who’s now on leave to work on the campaign, told City & State outside Adams’ apartment that it was all true, saying she has personally been in Borough Hall “until 1 (a.m.) because I believed,” but that others would work even later, she said. “We literally just work hard. But hey, if that’s what they’re going to hound us on? I’m fine.”