A few hours after New York City Mayor Eric Adams abruptly canceled several meetings in Washington D.C., news broke Thursday that the FBI was searching the home of his chief fundraiser, Brianna Suggs, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Suggs, a 25-year-old campaign consultant deeply embedded in advancing the mayor’s agenda, was also questioned by agents from a public corruption squad in the FBI New York office, according to The New York Times. The reason for the raid was not immediately clear, although the Times reported that it was part of a public corruption investigation into whether Adams' 2021 campaign conspired with both the Turkish government and a construction company in Brooklyn to give foreign money to the campaign. It is not clear whether or not Adams is involved. On Friday, CNN reported that multiple sites were raided in connection to the investigation.
Calls to Suggs’ office have gone unanswered.
The raid comes at a particularly inconvenient time. Adams had been scheduled to meet Thursday with a number of White House officials and lawmakers about the influx of migrants who’ve come to the city over the past year and a half. The mayors of Chicago and Denver – other big cities that have seen a surge of new arrivals – were also expected to attend those meetings.
When asked for details about the abrupt pivot in plans, a spokesperson for City Hall said the mayor was returning to “address a matter” and that the meetings would be rescheduled as soon as possible.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that a staff member from Adams’ office stayed to attend the meeting with federal officials. As for the mayor’s departure, “You saw the reports. Obviously I can’t speak to his schedule and why he couldn’t attend,” she said.
During an unrelated event Thursday night, Adams said he returned to the city because he wanted to be on the ground to “look at this inquiry” as it rolls forward, but that he hasn’t been contacted by anyone in law enforcement.
“I hold my campaign to the highest ethical standards,” he said. “Any inquiry that is done we're going to fully participate and make sure that it's done correctly.”
Here are four things to know about Suggs.
She claims to have raised millions for Eric Adams
Adams' reelection campaign has paid Suggs more than $65,000 for campaign consulting services. In 2021, his first mayoral campaign paid her company $35,000, according to the city campaign finance database. On her LinkedIn profile, where she listed her title as “Fundraiser and Director of Logistics,” she claimed to have raised $18.4 million for Adams’ 2021 campaign during the primary and general elections. That’s an eye-popping sum, given that the mayor spent about $18.5 million on those 2021 campaigns, per city campaign finance records.
Leading fundraising for a major mayoral campaign – which requires extensive compliance knowledge of campaign finance law – is certainly a complex job for someone early in her career as Suggs was.
“Do I think she was the mastermind behind some insane scheme? Absolutely not,” said someone familiar with Adams’ inner circle. “She ended up in that position because (Adams) is governed by loyalty.”
She’s also a lobbyist
In 2021 and 2022, Suggs was paid to lobby on behalf of East Broadway Mall, Inc. The Daily News reported in April that she was fundraising for Adams’ campaign while she was lobbying his administration on behalf of East Broadway Mall, a Manhattan company. While likely not illegal, the mixing of campaign and government donations is frowned upon by ethics groups.
She worked for Eric Adams for years
According to her LinkedIn, Suggs has been a fundraiser for the Kings County Democratic County Committee since September 2021. There she organizes and manages the party’s fundraising activity.
Though she is young, Suggs’ ties to the mayor go back even further than her time as his fundraiser. Back when Adams was Brooklyn borough president, she was a special liaison and women’s health analyst for the office, according to her LinkedIn. She started working in the office in 2017 as an intern.
Politico reported that Suggs was particularly close to and mentored by Adams’ Chief Adviser Ingrid Lewis-Martin.
Her client list
On her website, Suggs included the logos for Al Taylor for Assembly, the Brooklyn Democratic Party, Hercules Reid for Assembly, Miguelina Camilo for state Senate and, of course, Eric Adams for mayor under her “Clients Past + Current” list.
Brooklyn Dems Chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn said she was surprised at the news of the raid. In a statement she said that Suggs served in a volunteer capacity for the Kings County Democratic County Committee on a couple planned events. “I know Brianna Suggs as a smart, conscientious, and dedicated professional through our interactions, and I hold her in the highest regards,” she said.
This is a developing story that has been updated. Holly Pretsky contributed reporting.