FBI probe shows there's much potential for corruption in Mayor Adams' circle
By: Nicole Gelinas (New York Post)
The reason for leaving prior to the "oh so important meeting" with PotUS.
By Nicole Gelinas
Back to Reading Published Nov. 5, 2023, 6:10 p.m. ET The FBI raided the home of Mayor Adams' top campaign fundraiser Brianna Suggs. J.C. Rice
There's no good time for a mayor to be enveloped in a haze of corruption, but there couldn't be a worse time for New York for this mayor to be surrounded in scandal.
Mayor Adams and his tight claque of cronies have more discretionary power over the city's spending than any administration in recent history, just as we have less and less reason to trust them.
We all want to think the best of the mayor, and he was elected with nothing but goodwill from New Yorkers two years ago this week.
But Adams himself makes it hard to maintain this trust and goodwill.
When news broke Thursday that the feds had raided the home of Adams' top campaign fundraiser, 25-year-old Brianna Suggs, on suspicion the mayor received multiple, disguised donations from foreign nationals (who aren't allowed to give in races), the mayor and his staff were en route to Washington, DC, to meet with Biden officials over the migrant crisis.
Moments before the meeting, the mayor abruptly canceled and returned to New York to "deal with a matter."
He later confirmed he had come back early to "look at this inquiry."
Day 1 of this major public-corruption investigation, and it's already interfering with the mayor's ability to do his job.
Whether it was a waste of time in the first place to beg DC once again for billions for migrants is not the point.
Thursday morning, flying to Washington, Adams boasted of the upcoming meeting, during which he was to team up with other big-city mayors and pressure the White House.
So the meeting was important to him — and he blew, likely, four figures' worth of taxpayer money on travel for him and his staff.
He was already in Washington, and there was nothing he could do about the unfolding news — so why not just go through with the meeting?
It would have sent a signal he has confidence in his own and his campaign staff's honesty.
Instead, he looked panicked.
What did he possibly have to do in New York that couldn't wait another two hours?
Whom did he have to talk to so urgently, and why couldn't he do his talking on the phone?
This is the mayor who last year allegedly told his then-buildings commissioner, Eric Ulrich, who was about to be indicted for his own alleged corruption, to "watch your back and watch your phones."
The mayor's weird actions Thursday leave us with the conclusion he's taking his own advice.
His erratic behavior is yet another reason for President Biden to continue to ignore our migrant plight.
For the White House to give us billions of dollars for migrants would be for national taxpayers to subsidize a huge opportunity for local corruption.
Adams is funding migrant services mostly through no-bid "emergency" contracts with third parties, about the worst form of disbursing taxpayer money there is.
This year, the city's total contract budget will reach $22.8 billion.
That's a full $3 billion higher than the contract budget during the final de Blasio year, and the increase is almost entirely for migrant services.
Altogether, over two years the city has awarded nearly $5.1 billion in migrant contracts, including $2.1 billion through the separate Health and Hospitals Corp., which doesn't show up in the city budget.
The city and HHC are slow to respond to reporters' requests for full contracts, and the administration dances around City Council requests for information.
Then there's a separate bonanza: the plan to build jails in four boroughs to replace Rikers Island.
The headline cost of the jails is $8.9 billion, but that number is at least a half-decade out of date; the city has awarded only one contract, for the Brooklyn jail, and that alone comes in at $3 billion.
So this $12 to $15 billion project represents the city government's biggest single modern capital investment ever, rivaling classic projects like the Brooklyn Bridge.
And it's all in the hands of a few Adams officials. They've already had to restart the bid process for the Manhattan jail after the original process failed.
Sometime next year, the city will pick a Manhattan contractor based on "best value."
Because "best value" allows for subjective considerations, construction-industry standard-setters urge "strong caution" when using it.
But the best evidence we have is that the mayor's idea of "strong caution" is to watch his phone.
Nicole Gelinas is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute's City Journal.
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