Eric Adams

The Turkey probe is not the first investigation to touch Eric Adams

The mayor has had a long political career, and with it, many run-ins with watchdogs.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has never been charged with a crime, but he has been investigated.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has never been charged with a crime, but he has been investigated. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

It’s common for a New York City mayor to be investigated, and Eric Adams is not an exception. No mayor has been charged with a crime in over 100 years, but probes into Adams’ administration and political career, especially for fundraising in his mayoral campaign, have tarnished his image. A December poll by Quinnipiac University found that 54% of people did not find Adams trustworthy or honest. The mayor’s office declined to provide a comment for this story. Here are some notable instances where Adams or those close to him have been investigated.

Casino contract

During Adams’ time as state senator in Brooklyn, then-state Inspector General Joseph Fisch investigated his involvement in awarding a contract to operate slot machines at the Aqueduct Racetrack to a major donor. On Labor Day weekend in 2009, Adams held a birthday bash fundraiser in Manhattan’s Grand Havana Room. Adams, chair of the state Senate Racing and Wagering Committee, received tons of donations, some coming from lobbyists. Fisch believed the presence of lobbyists at his fundraiser was unethical, considering they were competing for the contracts he had the power to give out. Adams today still stands by his actions, claiming that the investigation was a political hit piece to derail Democrats before the election.

One Brooklyn Fund 

Eric Adams established One Brooklyn Fund in 2014 to provide free services and programs to Brooklyn residents while he was borough president. The nonprofit also promoted Adams’ image in Brooklyn and reaped significant contributions from lobbyists and developers who wanted to curry favors, according to a report by The City. In 2014, the city Department of Investigation found that Adams’ nonprofit failed to comply with the rules of the city Conflict of Interest Board – attendees of an event at Borough Hall were asked by staff if they were interested in providing “financial support” to the organization. The second violation occurred in 2016 when the organization incorrectly attempted to license the use of Borough Hall to the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence for an event.

Straw donor scheme

In July 2023, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged six people with operating a straw donor scheme to funnel cash to Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign. They were charged with illegally reimbursing a network of donors to maximize donations – and public matching funds – to Adams’ campaign. Dwayne Montgomery, a former NYPD inspector who had a close relationship to the mayor, pleaded guilty in February.

Turkish donor scandal

In November, the FBI raided Eric Adams’ chief campaign fundraiser’s home and days later seized electronic devices from the mayor himself. The federal investigation is reportedly looking into Adams’ ties to Turkey and whether Adams’ 2021 campaign accepted illegal donations from Turkish nationals. The federal investigation is also scrutinizing whether Adams improperly pressured the fire department to expedite safety inspections for the Turkish consulate in Manhattan. The FBI is investigating donations that come from KSK Construction Company, a firm whose founders hail from Turkey. The investigation is still pending and no criminal charges have been made.