The Manhattan district legal professional’s workplace is prosecuting two legal instances 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. Adams’s former buildings commissioner, who has been charged in a sealed indictment with corruption-related crimes, based on two folks acquainted with the investigation who requested for anonymity to debate sealed expenses.
Within the different, six folks — together with a longtime pal of the mayor, Dwayne Montgomery — have been charged with conspiring to illegally funnel cash to Mr. Adams’s mayoral marketing campaign in 2021.
The instances 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 is no such thing as a suggestion that Mr. Adams is underneath legal investigation, the instances are usually 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 generally known as the “bling bishop” who was charged with fraud and extortion and to twin brothers who share a legal 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 informed them that months earlier, Mayor Adams had warned him that he was the main target of a legal investigation, two of the folks mentioned. (Mr. Ulrich’s feedback to prosecutors have been first reported by The Every day Information.)
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 mentioned in a press release Thursday that the mayor had not acquired any requests from the Manhattan district legal professional concerning 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 turned public,” he mentioned.
In current weeks, a grand jury voted to cost Mr. Ulrich with having accepted a reduced house from an actual property developer who has had enterprise earlier than the town, the folks mentioned. Mr. Ulrich accepted not less than a number of the profit whereas he was nonetheless answerable for the company. The Brooklyn-based developer, Mark Caller, can also be charged within the indictment, the folks mentioned.
The fees additionally contact on what prosecutors are anticipated to characterize as Mr. Ulrich’s ties to organized crime, the folks mentioned. The indictment is more likely to be introduced by Mr. Bragg in September.
A lawyer for Mr. Ulrich, Samuel M. Braverman, mentioned final month that till he noticed the costs in an indictment, he wouldn’t remark. On Thursday, he mentioned he had nothing so as to add.
Mr. Caller’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, mentioned he had not seen the indictment however that he anticipated it to incorporate an allegation that Mr. Ulrich acquired a reduced house in one in every of Mr. Caller’s buildings.
“That’s patently false,” Mr. Brafman mentioned. “He paid market fee with none low cost in any way,” Mr. Brafman mentioned, including that Mr. Ulrich had rented the house earlier than turning into buildings commissioner.
Final month, Mr. Bragg introduced the indictment of the six individuals who he mentioned had recruited and reimbursed particular person donors to Mr. Adams’s marketing campaign so as to illegally acquire more cash from the town. The lead defendant is Mr. Montgomery, a retired Police Division inspector, longtime pal of the mayor and a former colleague on the drive. Prosecutors mentioned that the defendants had sought to affect the administration.
In keeping with courtroom papers filed by the district legal professional’s workplace, Mr. Montgomery and Rachel Atcheson, an in depth aide to Mr. Adams, arrange a fund-raiser 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, the 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 mentioned that he wouldn’t be distracted by the case in opposition to Mr. Ulrich.
“The D.A. has his job,” he mentioned. “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 keep a cordial relationship. However the district legal professional, a former federal prosecutor who dealt with public corruption instances, has mentioned he desires his workplace to pursue investigations into the highly effective.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Bragg declined to touch upon both of the instances.
Mr. Ulrich informed prosecutors that Mr. Adams’s warning was delivered throughout a quick assembly in 2022, the folks mentioned. Beforehand, the mayor requested Mr. Ulrich at hand his cellphone to an affiliate, they mentioned.
Then, as the 2 males talked, Mr. Adams warned Mr. Ulrich to “watch your again and watch your telephones,” based on the folks. Mr. Ulrich, they mentioned, later informed prosecutors that he understood the mayor to imply that he was a spotlight of a legal investigation.
On the Monday information convention, Mr. Adams mentioned that he had not even recognized that Mr. Ulrich was underneath legal 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 have interaction in a sample of questionable enterprise dealings, based on a New York Occasions investigation.
“I’m going to speak with individuals who have stumbled and fell,” Mr. Adams has mentioned of the Petrosyants. “As a result of I’m completely imperfect, and it is a metropolis made up of completely imperfect folks.”
Supporters and members of the Adams administration are usually not Mr. Bragg’s solely current Metropolis Corridor targets: His prosecutors are pursuing a 3rd case, which focuses on the administration of Mr. Adams’s predecessor, Invoice de Blasio.
The district legal professional’s workplace is predicted, within the coming weeks, to unveil expenses in opposition to Howard Redmond, the pinnacle 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 crew on unauthorized city-financed journeys associated to his failed 2020 presidential bid.