FBI raids home of fundraising chief Eric Adams

By | November 2, 2023

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on Thursday searched the Brooklyn home of Mayor Eric Adams’ top fundraiser, Brianna Suggs, a campaign consultant deeply tied to efforts to advance the mayor’s agenda, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. subject.

The raid apparently prompted Mr. Adams to abruptly cancel several meetings scheduled for Thursday morning in Washington, D.C., to speak with White House officials and members of Congress about the migrant crisis in New York and other major cities . Instead, he rushed back to New York “to settle a matter,” a spokesperson for the mayor said.

Ms. Suggs, who could not immediately be reached for comment, is a key cog in Mr. Adams’ fundraising machine, which has already raised more than $2.5 million for his campaign. 2025 re-election.

A third person with knowledge of the raid said agents from one of the FBI’s New York office’s public corruption squads questioned Ms. Suggs during the search of her home.

An FBI spokesperson confirmed that “we are at this location to conduct law enforcement actions,” referring to Ms. Suggs’ home in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the Manhattan federal prosecutor’s office, declined to comment.

Charles Kretchmer Lutvak, a spokesman for Mr. Adams, denied knowledge of the raid.

“I don’t know about it,” Mr. Lutvak said.

He added that Ms. Suggs was not a City Hall employee and referred calls to the mayor’s campaign team.

“The campaign has always held itself to the highest standards,” said Vito Pitta, Mr. Adams’ campaign lawyer. “The campaign will of course respond to any inquiries where appropriate.”

Mr. Pitta added: “Mayor Adams has not been contacted in connection with this investigation. »

Ms. Suggs, 25, is the latest in a string of individuals linked to Mr. Adams who have attracted the interest of law enforcement, including several with ties to fund-raisers.

In September, Eric Ulrich, a former building commissioner and senior adviser to Mr. Adams, was indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on 16 counts, including conspiracy and bribery. Mr. Ulrich, along with three others charged at the time, helped organize a 2021 fundraiser for Mr. Adams.

In July, Mr. Bragg indicted six people, including a retired police detective who once worked and socialized with Mr. Adams, for conspiring to funnel illegal donations to the 2021 mayoral campaign.

The Investigations Department is also investigate the role of one of the mayor’s top aides in a violent altercation last month at a migrant center in Manhattan.

Mr. Adams has tried to distance himself from such investigations in the past, arguing that he had limited knowledge of the events that precipitated them. But the investigation into such a close and longtime adviser could be more difficult to conduct remotely.

Over the past two years, Mr. Adams’s re-election campaign paid Ms. Suggs nearly $100,000 for fundraising and campaign consulting services through her company, Suggs Solutions, according to city records. .

His first mayoral campaign brought him more than $50,000.

Ms. Suggs also registered as a lobbyist. State records indicate that the East Broadway Mall, a Chinatown real estate company, hired Ms. Suggs, through an intermediary, to lobby on its behalf to the New York City Mayor’s Office and City Council in 2022.

Ms. Suggs worked as an assistant to Mr. Adams when he was Brooklyn borough president and is particularly close to Ingrid Lewis-Martin, who was his deputy at the time and is currently his top adviser.

Ms. Suggs is deeply involved in outside efforts to advance the Mayor’s agenda. The political action committee of a key ally, In search of a better New York, who promised to support state candidates aligned with Mr. Adams on policy issues, paid Ms. Suggs about $100,000.

Ms. Suggs also lists the Brooklyn Democratic Party, to which Mr. Adams is close, as a client on her LinkedIn. page.

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, the MP who leads the party, said Ms Suggs was a volunteer fundraiser for the party and mainly handled logistics. She said she was surprised to learn of the FBI’s intervention.

What I know about Brianna Suggs is that she is a brilliant young woman. I think he is a very honest, organized person. She is very gentle and very professional,” said Ms. Bichotte Hermelyn. “She knows the rules.”

Mr. Adams’ decision to cancel high-level meetings with senior White House officials on an issue he had warned about empty New York’s budget And destroy the city suggested an unusual level of urgency.

The White House appears to have been taken by surprise. The mayor’s office called Thursday morning to inform them of the cancellation, a White House aide said.

“I can’t speak to his schedule and why he was supposed to attend, he wasn’t able to attend,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

The mayor was scheduled to meet with congressional representatives as well as Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Denver Mayor Mike Johnston.

Mr. Adams posted a video on, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday at 7:41 a.m. while sitting on a plane. He said he was traveling to Washington to meet with White House officials and members of the congressional delegation about the migrant crisis, which he called “a real problem.”

Mr. Adams promised to keep the public informed throughout the day, but after canceling the meetings, City Hall officials would not explain why.

“The mayor is returning to New York to resolve a problem,” Mr. Lutvak, the mayor’s spokesman, said in an email when asked why Mr. Adams was suddenly returning to the city. “These meetings will be rescheduled as soon as possible.”

When asked if this was a personal matter or City Hall-related, officials declined to provide further details.

“He’s coming back to take care of a case,” Mr. Lutvak said.

Around 8 a.m. Thursday, about 10 officers could be seen standing in Ms. Suggs’ neighborhood, according to video of the scene taken by a neighbor and viewed by The New York Times. One agent wore a light green tactical vest with the letters “FBI” emblazoned on the back. Another official could be seen leaving the apartment with a cardboard box.

Ms. Suggs stood on the front porch with her father while officers searched her house, according to neighbor Christopher Burwell.

“Anyway, she must have been fooled, because she’s a wonderful woman,” Mr. Burwell said. “I’ve known her my whole life.”

Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Michael D. Shearing, Wesley Parnell And Rebecca Chao reports contributed.

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