NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Eric Adams said unequivocally Friday he has no knowledge of any shady fundraising activities a day after FBI agents raided the home of his top campaign fundraiser.
“I want to be clear, I have no knowledge, direct or otherwise, of any improper fundraising activity—and certainly not of any foreign money,” Adams said in a statement. “We will of course work with officials to respond to inquiries, as appropriate—as we always have.”
Adams also said he was “outraged and angry” to learn if there were attempts to use his mayoral campaign “to manipulate our democracy and defraud our campaign.”
Adams’ campaign counsel Vito Pitta said the campaign “started an extensive review of all documents and actions by campaign workers connected to the contributors in question.”
The campaign’s comments came shortly after Adams was interviewed by WPIX-TV in his first sitdown interview since the feds raided the home of fundraiser Brianna Suggs. Adams said he has not spoken to Suggs “since this incident took place.”
“Where there’s smoke there’s not always fire. Listen, I make sure that we have real compliance,” he said during Friday’s PIX11 interview. “If anyone did something that’s inappropriate outside of our compliance procedures, the law enforcement agencies will determine that. This is new and evolving and we’re going to comply 100%.”
Adams also said Friday he has full confidence in Suggs, who is Black, and added that “often young African American ladies don’t get the opportunities that others receive in this business of politics.” Suggs credits herself for having raised $19 million to Adams’ successful mayoral campaign.
Adams said he has not been contacted by authorities, and he has not been publicly identified as a target in connection with the probe, which became public Thursday after the FBI raided Suggs’ Crown Heights address.
While the interview marked the first sit-down interview Adams since the FBI raided Suggs’ home, a top Adams’ City Hall staffer said Friday that the mayor would not hold his regularly scheduled press briefing next Tuesday because it falls on Election Day.
Deputy Mayor of Communications Fabien Levy told the Daily News Friday afternoon that because of the holiday, “the office is technically closed.”
“We’ll do another day next week,” Levy added, but would not specify exactly when.
When asked when reporters would have a chance to question Adams, Levy said he would “circle back.”
He did not immediately respond to a question about whether Adams’ team would consider expanding the number of off-topic availabilities to reporters.
As part of Adams’ relatively new media strategy, for the last several weeks, he has held one news briefing a week for reporters to ask questions of their choosing — so-called off-topic questions.
Since the story broke, Adams has largely avoided City Hall reporters and canceled a public flag-raising ceremony he had scheduled for Friday afternoon.
On Thursday, during a brief gaggle with a handful of reporters, he said he holds his “campaign to the highest ethical standards.”
Of Suggs, Adams said “She stood up. From an intern, became a good staffer and ran our entire fundraising apparatus.”
In an unusual occurrence, a division of the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau was asked by federal law enforcement officials the night before the raid to request the local precinct conduct a so-called “wellness check” at Suggs’ home, as first reported by The Messenger. A police spokesperson confirmed that account to the The Daily News, saying officers had gone to Sugg’s home.
“With no prior knowledge of any connection between the mayor and anyone living at that address, IAB contacted the 77th Precinct. An officer from that precinct conducted the check and found no irregularities. This otherwise routine check was never reported to City Hall or NYPD executive staff, none of whom were aware of this check until a news outlet reached out for confirmation on Friday afternoon,” the spokesperson said.