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Saturday Edition: “Don’t ask so many whys.”
An investigation into some Adams donors + some music #54
Last night a big team of reporters from THE CITY released our investigation into some donors to the Eric Adams 2021 campaign clustered around a Flushing mall and a Brooklyn appliance shop.
The clusters, identified by THE CITY through a review of thousands of campaign finance records and dozens of interviews, contain signs that campaign finance experts say should have been obvious red flags to the Adams campaign and the city’s Campaign Finance Board.
Most of the donations are at or just under the limit qualifying them for public matching funds that, under an expanded city program used for the first time that election cycle, multiplied their value as much as eight times. Dozens came from low-wage workers or people who were listed as unemployed or retired, and only a handful of them are from registered voters. THE CITY is keeping the names of the people who described fraudulent donations anonymous out of concerns of possible retribution.
The donations supercharged public fundraising for the soon-to-be-mayor. Under the 8-to-1 matching fund program, donations of $250 can generate up to $2,000 each in public funds. The public windfall to the Adams campaign was as much as $213,744, according to matching figures submitted to the Campaign Finance Board.
In all, Adams collected a total of $10.1 million in taxpayer-supplied funds in his 2021 march to City Hall — the largest amount to date received by a candidate under the city’s campaign finance system.
My colleagues attempted to reach all of the donors in the clusters. From those they spoke with, four said they didn’t give, didn’t know about it, or in one case, was told at work to donate and then reimbursed soon after. Some said the signature on the contribution card wasn’t theirs.
Employees at the New World Mall location of Jmart, a Chinese supermarket with locations in Flushing, Bensonhurst, and now Little Neck, say their bosses brought in contribution forms to work for them to fill out. Other donors unsurprisingly didn’t want to talk about their donations, which were most $249.
“There are a lot of whys that I have no way of answering,” one donor said. “There are a lot of whys that I don’t know about,” he said, standing at his apartment door. “Don’t ask so many whys.”
Read the full story here.
🌟Other interesting stories🌟
The attorney general’s office was investigating a health-care company that seemed to get and give out COVID vaccines way earlier than other places, an first come, first served. But then the investigation stopped. [THE CITY]
A complaint filed with the CCRB alleges a cop at the 110th Precinct organized a counter rally at one supporting Corona Plaza’s vendors. [THE CITY]
Mr. RICO gets RICO’ed. [WSJ]
This week for FAQ I spoke with Dave Giffen of the Coalition for the Homeless and Josh Goldfein of Legal Aid about the asylum seeker crisis, and who can be helping more. Listen here.
Bonus: Dave Giffen was in the punk band Alice Donut. Listen to some of their music below.
And a full concert:
Thanks for reading!