NEW YORK — Forerunner to Mayor Eric Adams spent Wednesday morning trying to go to bed with questions about where he sleeps with a tour of his cluttered Brooklyn basement apartment and an emotional explanation for his insistence on personal privacy.
On Tuesday, POLITICS reported: Adams, the president of the Brooklyn borough, has spent the night and early morning hours in the government building where he and his staff work. When he doesn’t put his head in the taxpayer’s building, official documents and information provided by his campaign contain conflicting statements about where he lives.
In response, Adams and his team attempted to answer questions about his residency Wednesday with a coffee and vegan pastry press conference, providing new or changed details about his living situation, while several inconsistencies persisted.
Speaking outside his four-unit row house in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the candidate unequivocally denied living in the co-op he owns with his longtime partner in Fort Lee, NJ.
“How foolish does one have to be to become mayor of New York City and live in another town?” Adams asked, standing next to his son Jordan.
However, he has called for Garden State unit campaign events.
Adams called a few mayoral forums from across the Hudson in January and February, according to a POLITICO comparison of his virtual background with property listings and floor plans. Campaign advisor Evan Thies confirmed the location on Wednesday, shortly after Adams’ press conference.
Adams also appeared at five online events hosted in 2020 by the district president’s office from the New Jersey apartment.
His opponents seized on questions about his whereabouts.
“I said Eric Adams is principled. He doesn’t follow the traffic rules. Everywhere he’s been, he’s been haunted by corruption investigations,” another leading candidate, Andrew Yang, said during a campaign freeze on Wednesday. “And now he probably lives in New Jersey.”
Yang, who previously ran the Democratic primaries, demanded that Adams release his E-ZPass records from the past few years, adding: “If you’ve been to Brooklyn it won’t show anything and then we go further .”
Adams said he regularly went to New Jersey on weekends to visit his partner Tracey Collins, but skipped travel to other states altogether last year during the height of the pandemic, when he moved to his office in Brooklyn Borough Hall to allow the time. to maximize. spent on work. Until Saturday, he said, he hadn’t seen her for two months because of his hectic work schedule.
“I never hid that I have a co-op in New Jersey with Tracey, but my permanent residence is in Brooklyn,” Adams said.
He said he spends most of his days campaigning ahead of the June 22 Democratic primary, leaving him little time to fulfill his official duties as district president.
“I entered the town hall at 1 am, worked until 3 to 4 am with my staffers who come in because they believe – and then got up at 6:30 am, 7 am to go to the train station,” he said. “It’s no mystery where I am.”
POLITICO saw Adams enter the government building around midnight several times over Memorial Day weekend, and a rival campaign last week saw similar activity on four consecutive nights.
Thies said Adams travels to New Jersey by bus or government car and has instructed his government personnel to provide the E-ZPass data.
The accounts of his interstate trip were part of a tearful backstory Adams told outside his brownstone Wednesday morning. He recalled an incident from his time as an outspoken member of the NYPD when someone… shot at his car during a predawn ride – an event that prompted him to closely monitor his personal life from then on.
“My secret is my family,” he said. “I signed up for this life. They have not signed for this life.”
But at the same time, Adams and his team tried to clear up inconsistencies with his living arrangements by offering new or changed details compared to the day before.
For example, Thies said on Tuesday that Adams lived in the basement of the house. His son and a tenant lived on other floors of the property, and one unit was vacant. But on Wednesday, his son said he lives in New Jersey and will stay overnight if he’s in town late for college graduation or work. And Thies said the vacant unit is now filled.
The basement interior, which Adams showed to reporters, contained food items and sneakers that did not appear to belong to the 60-year-old impeccably dressed vegan. Thies said Jordan spends time at his dad’s apartment watching cable TV and occasionally sleeps on the couch, but goes upstairs when his dad gets home.
He also said that Adams filled the vacant unit.
Adams bought the property in 2002 and, according to Thies, lived there for years until he moved in permanently in 2017. Around 2013, he signed his share of a co-op in Prospect Heights to his ex-girlfriend and moved into an apartment on McKeever Place while doing renovations on the Lafayette Avenue home — a timeline corroborated by his voting record.
His opponents didn’t take it.
“Okay, can we really talk here for a second? This is bizarre,” Maya Wiley, another leading mayoral candidate, said during a campaign briefing in Manhattan. “I think there are some immediate questions that are just fundamental about where you live, Eric. And where are your tax returns? How many years have you been collecting rents from real estate without reporting them?’
Despite the attempt at clarity, several pieces of information about Adams’ real estate portfolio remain unclear or inaccurately reported in government documents.
His four-unit house is listed with the city’s housing agency as a three-unit house and is not registered, as is required for multi-family housing. Thies said the department’s website is not accurate and a representative from the agency has not responded to questions from POLITICO.
Adams said he amended several years of tax returns to reflect rental income that was omitted from 2017 through 2019 – who discovered POLITICS by comparing its returns to its financial information on file with the City’s Conflict of Interest Council. The Adams campaign has yet to provide the clarified forms.
Questions also remain about Adams’ campaign offices. Thies said he has used space within MetroTech, a sprawling office campus near Borough Hall. That’s also where Frank Carone — Brooklyn Democratic Party attorney who unofficially supports Adams’ campaign — has office space.
His campaign finance filings do not reflect office rent payments to Carone. Adams confirmed on Wednesday that he is leasing space from Carone in MetroTech, but campaign documents show no such payment.
Thies said it had rolled into a $7,500 filing fee paid by Adams Carone and would be more clearly delineated in a future filing.