NEW YORK – Mayor Eric Adams spent Wednesday morning trying to put to bed questions about where he slept with a tour of his cluttered basement in Brooklyn and an emotional explanation for his insistence on privacy.
On Tuesday, POLITICO reported that Adams, the president of the Brooklyn neighborhood, stayed overnight and stayed late at night and early in the morning in the government building where he and his staff work. When he does not lay his head in the building owned by the taxpayer, the official documents and information provided by his campaign present conflicting accounts of where he resides.
In response, Adams and his team on Wednesday tried to answer questions about his stay with a press conference with coffee and vegan pastries and provided new or changed details about his life situation, while leaving a few inconsistencies.
The candidate, speaking outside his four-bed house in Bedford-Stewisant, unequivocally denied living in the condominium he owns with his longtime partner in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
“How stupid should someone be to run for mayor of New York City and live in another community?” Adams asked, standing next to his son Jordan.
However, he called election events from the Garden State unit.
Adams garnered a couple of mayoral forums in January and February from across the Hudson, according to a comparison of POLITICO to its virtual background with real estate listings and floor plans. Campaign Adviser Evan Tees confirmed the venue Wednesday, shortly after Adams’ press conference.
Adams also appeared at five online events hosted by the district president’s office in 2020 from the New Jersey apartment.
His opponents took advantage of questions about his whereabouts.
“I said Eric Adams was unprincipled. Does not follow traffic rules. He is under investigation for corruption wherever he goes, “said another leading candidate, Andrew Young, at a campaign stop on Wednesday. “And now, he probably lives in New Jersey.”
Young, who had previously won the Democratic Championship, asked Adams to release his E-ZPass recordings from the past few years, adding: “If you’ve been to Brooklyn, it won’t show anything and then we’ll move on. “
Adams said he went to New Jersey periodically on the weekends to visit his partner Tracy Collins, but completely missed traveling to various countries during the height of last year’s pandemic when he moved to his Brooklyn Borough Hall office. to maximize time spent at work. Until Saturday, he said he had not seen her for two months due to his hectic work schedule.
“I never hid that I owned a cooperative in New Jersey with Tracy, but my permanent residence is in Brooklyn,” Adams said.
He said he spent most of his days campaigning ahead of the June 22nd Democratic Party, leaving him little time to serve as district president.
“I enter the city hall at 1 in the morning, work until 3 to 4 with my employees who come in because they believe – and then I get up at 6:30, 7 to go to the station,” he said. It’s not a mystery where I am.
POLITICO watched Adams several times in the government building around midnight over Remembrance Day weekend, and a rival campaign spotted similar activity four consecutive nights last week.
Tees said Adams traveled to New Jersey by bus or state car and said he had instructed his government staff to provide the recordings to E-ZPass.
The accounting of his trip between the states was part of a tearful prehistory given by Adams in front of his brown stone on Wednesday morning. He recalled an incident in his days as an outspoken member of New York, when someone shot at his car while driving in the morning, an event that prompted him to keep a close eye on his personal life.
“My secret is my family,” he said. “I signed up for this life. They did not sign up for this life. ”
Still, Adams and his team tried to clear up the discrepancies in his living conditions by offering new or changed details from the day before.
Tees, for example, said on Tuesday that Adams lived in the basement of the house. His son and tenant lived on other floors of the property, and one apartment was vacant. But on Wednesday, his son said he lives in New Jersey and stays overnight when he’s late for town for school or work. And Tees said the empty unit was already filled.
The inside of the basement, which Adams showed reporters, contained food and sneakers that did not appear to belong to the 60-year-old, immaculately dressed vegan. Tees said Jordan spends time in his father’s apartment watching cable TV and occasionally sleeps on the couch, but goes upstairs when his father comes home.
He added that Adams had filled the empty link.
Adams bought the property in 2002 and, according to Thies, he lived there for years until he settled permanently in 2017. At some point around 2013, he signed his share of the Prospect Heights cooperative to his ex-girlfriend. and moved into a McKeever Place apartment while renovating the house on Lafayette Avenue, a timeline that is confirmed by his voting record.
His opponents did not buy him.
“Okay, can we just talk for a minute here?” That’s weird, “said Maya Wiley, another leading mayoral candidate, during a campaign suspension in Manhattan. “I think there are a few direct questions that are just fundamental to where you live, Eric. And where are your tax returns? How many years have you been collecting property rents without reporting them. “
Despite the attempt for clarity, several parts of Adams’ real estate portfolio remain unclear or inaccurately reported in state registers.
His four-dwelling home is included in the city’s housing agency as a three-dwelling house and is not registered as required for multifamily buildings. Thies said the department’s website was inaccurate and a representative of the agency did not answer questions from POLITICO.
Adams said he amended several years of tax returns to reflect rental income that was missed from 2017 to 2019 – which POLITICO found by comparing its returns to its financial disclosures in the case with the city council for conflicts of interest. Adams’ campaign has not yet provided the clarified forms.
Questions remain in Adams’ campaign offices. Tees said he used the space at MetroTech, an extensive office campus near Borough Hall. This is also the case where Frank Carone, a lawyer for the Brooklyn Democratic Party, which unofficially supports the Adams campaign, has office space.
His campaign finance statements do not reflect payments for renting Carone’s office. Adams confirmed on Wednesday that he is hiring a seat from Carone at MetroTech – but campaign documents do not show such a payment.
Tees said it was included in a $ 7,500 fee for a petition Adams paid to Carone and would be more clearly outlined in a future submission.
Adams appeared on CNN at 10 a.m. Wednesday and anchored Don Lemon that he would release his recordings on E-ZPass “immediately.”
After the interview, shortly after 11 p.m., Adams arrived at his Bed-Stuy residence in his government vehicle and entered the basement apartment.
Jesse Narangio contributed to this report.