Manhattan D.A. Investigates Mayor Adams’s Circle of Help


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The Manhattan district legal professional’s workplace is prosecuting two prison circumstances that come uncomfortably near Mayor Eric Adams, bringing undesirable consideration to the administration and elevating questions on Mr. Adams’s relationships with the accused.

One entails Mr. Adam’s former buildings commissioner, who has been charged in a sealed indictment with corruption-related crimes, in keeping with two individuals aware of the investigation who requested for anonymity to debate sealed costs.

Within the different, six individuals — together with a longtime buddy of the mayor, Dwayne Montgomery — have been charged with conspiring to illegally funnel cash to Mr. Adams’s mayoral marketing campaign in 2021.

The circumstances have subjected the mayor’s associates — and to a level, Mr. Adams himself — to the scrutiny of the Manhattan district legal professional, Alvin L. Bragg. Whereas there isn’t a suggestion that Mr. Adams is below prison investigation, the circumstances usually are not the primary to position the mayor, who touts his law-and-order credentials, within the awkward place of getting to elucidate his conduct or that of his associates.

Since taking workplace in January 2022, the mayor additionally has been linked with a Brooklyn pastor known as the “bling bishop” who was charged with fraud and extortion and to twin brothers who share a prison historical past involving cash laundering.

In the latest case, the sealed indictment in opposition to the mayor’s former buildings commissioner, Eric Ulrich, Mr. Adams has confronted questions on his relationship with the previous company head.

Mr. Ulrich resigned in November 2022, days after investigators with the district legal professional’s workplace seized his cellphone and he was questioned by prosecutors. He advised them that months earlier, Mayor Adams had warned him that he was the main target of a prison investigation, two of the individuals stated. (Mr. Ulrich’s feedback to prosecutors have been first reported by The Daily News.)

Mr. Adams has denied that he gave any warning, which might not seem to violate state legal guidelines in any occasion. A spokesman for Mr. Adams stated in an announcement Thursday that the mayor had not acquired any requests from the Manhattan district legal professional relating to both Mr. Ulrich or the straw donor case.

“The mayor hasn’t spoken to Mr. Ulrich or Mr. Montgomery about both of the respective investigations, both earlier than or after they grew to become public,” he stated.

In latest weeks, a grand jury voted to cost Mr. Ulrich with having accepted a reduced condominium from an actual property developer who has had enterprise earlier than town, the individuals stated. Mr. Ulrich accepted at the least a number of the profit whereas he was nonetheless in control of the company. The Brooklyn-based developer, Mark Caller, can also be charged within the indictment, the individuals stated.

The fees additionally contact on what prosecutors are anticipated to characterize as Mr. Ulrich’s ties to organized crime, the individuals stated. The indictment is more likely to be introduced by Mr. Bragg in September.

A lawyer for Mr. Ulrich, Samuel M. Braverman, stated final month that till he noticed the fees in an indictment, he wouldn’t remark. On Thursday, he stated he had nothing so as to add.

Mr. Caller’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, stated he had not seen the indictment however that he anticipated it to incorporate an allegation that Mr. Ulrich acquired a reduced condominium in one in every of Mr. Caller’s buildings.

“That’s patently false,” Mr. Brafman stated. “He paid market price with none low cost in anyway,” Mr. Brafman stated, including that Mr. Ulrich had rented the condominium earlier than turning into buildings commissioner.

Final month, Mr. Bragg introduced the indictment of the six individuals who he stated had recruited and reimbursed particular person donors to Mr. Adams’s marketing campaign as a way to illegally acquire more cash from town. The lead defendant is Mr. Montgomery, a retired Police Division inspector, longtime buddy of the mayor and a former colleague on the power. Prosecutors stated that the defendants had sought to affect the administration.

In line with courtroom papers filed by the district legal professional’s workplace, Mr. Montgomery and Rachel Atcheson, a detailed aide to Mr. Adams, arrange a fund-raisers at which straw donors gave the marketing campaign $250 apiece. Neither Ms. Atcheson nor Mr. Adams have been accused of wrongdoing.

New York Metropolis has an identical funds program designed to dilute the affect of massive donors that rewards campaigns for donations of as much as $250 from residents. For each private donation of that quantity to a mayoral marketing campaign, town provides a marketing campaign $2,000.

The mayor, a retired police captain, campaigned as a tough-on-crime candidate who would restore order to New York Metropolis within the wake of the pandemic. In a Monday information convention, Mr. Adams stated that he wouldn’t be distracted by the case in opposition to Mr. Ulrich.

“The D.A. has his job,” he stated. “I’ve my job.”

Mr. Bragg, who like Mr. Adams was elected in 2021, has studiously prevented direct confrontation with the mayor, and the 2 males preserve a cordial relationship. However the district legal professional, a former federal prosecutor who dealt with public corruption circumstances, has stated he needs his workplace to pursue investigations into the highly effective.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Bragg declined to touch upon both of the circumstances.

Mr. Ulrich advised prosecutors that Mr. Adams’s warning was delivered throughout a short assembly in 2022, the individuals stated. Beforehand, the mayor requested Mr. Ulrich handy his cellphone to an affiliate, they stated.

Then, as the 2 males talked, Mr. Adams warned Mr. Ulrich to “watch your again and watch your telephones,” in keeping with the individuals. Mr. Ulrich, they stated, later advised prosecutors that he understood the mayor to imply that he was a spotlight of a prison investigation.

On the Monday information convention, Mr. Adams stated that he had not even identified that Mr. Ulrich was below prison investigation.

Mr. Adams has proven few qualms about sustaining ties with individuals who have been accused of wrongdoing. He appointed Mr. Ulrich to go the buildings division regardless of a letter Mr. Ulrich had written 4 years earlier on behalf of a constituent with mob ties, and regardless of Mr. Ulrich’s acknowledged playing and alcohol addictions.

The mayor additionally stays shut with Johnny and Robert Petrosyants, twin brothers who pleaded responsible to monetary crimes in 2014 and have continued to engage in a pattern of questionable business dealings, in keeping with a New York Instances investigation.

“I’m going to speak with individuals who have stumbled and fell,” Mr. Adams has said of the Petrosyants. “As a result of I’m completely imperfect, and this can be a metropolis made up of completely imperfect individuals.”

Supporters and members of the Adams administration usually are not Mr. Bragg’s solely latest Metropolis Corridor targets: His prosecutors are pursuing a 3rd case, which focuses on the administration of Mr. Adam’s predecessor, Invoice de Blasio.

The district legal professional’s workplace is anticipated, within the coming weeks, to unveil costs in opposition to Howard Redmond, the top of Mr. de Blasio’s safety element. Mr. Redmond has been accused of blocking an investigation into the misuse of the element by Mr. de Blasio, together with bringing his safety group on unauthorized city-financed journeys associated to his failed 2020 presidential bid.


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