November 8, 2023
Watch the video here at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTKMaY7Ge0
Deputy Mayor Fabien Levy, Communications: Good morning, everybody. My name is Fabien Levy, and I serve as deputy mayor for Communications for the City of New York. We appreciate everyone joining us here for our weekly in person media availability. While we were not able to hold this forum at our usual time yesterday given that city buildings were closed for Election Day, we didn't want to interrupt or cancel this week, so we felt it important to reschedule as soon as possible and continue this event.
These forums are a valuable opportunity for you to ask your questions, for us to deliver information, and for New Yorkers to learn more about the work of their city government every single day. To that end, Mayor Adams has once again convened senior leadership from across our administration to answer your questions and engage with the important issues affecting all New Yorkers.
So, joining us this morning we have Mayor Eric Adams, First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, Chief Advisor to the Mayor Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Chief of Staff Camille Joseph Varlack, Deputy Mayor for Operations Mayor Joshi, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom, deputy mayor… Sorry. NYPD Chief of Department Jeff Maddrey, and Chief Counsel Lisa Zornberg. So, without further delay, I am happy to turn it to Mayor Adams.
Mayor Eric Adams: Thanks so much, Fabien. And you know, when we first announced these briefings, people were a little disappointed, but now we're seeing that when you have these big topics it's good to have these briefings where we could give the amount of time to just sort of dig into them and answer all the complex things that are happening in this city.
And many things are happening, and I say to the team over and over again from the days, Michael, of campaign trails: stay focused, no distractions and grind. You know, that's what we have to do. We came into office January 1st, 2022, and we understood from all the mayors that I spoke with before becoming mayor, they stated that, Eric, don't get up in the morning hoping to have a day where nothing is going to happen, pray for the strength to execute as you move through all the challenges you're facing.
And that's what we have done. With all the challenges we faced and all the things that come up every day, I feel like madam mayor, like that Madam Secretary, something is happening every day in this city, and we're looking forward to continue to navigate our city through this.
I'm happy that Chief Maddrey joined us today, because one of the most exciting aspects of what is happening now is what we're doing around crime. We're driving down crime year to date, decreasing in our subway system… Due to our Subway Safety Plan. We're seeing violent crime decrease overall. Hate crime is down in the city.
We are watching a double digit decrease in shootings, double digit decrease in homicides. We're seeing officers taking illegal guns off the street, and it's showing the results of all of our approaches to deal with violent acts. I stated when I ran for office and just about every time I'm in front of a microphone that the prerequisite to prosperity is public safety, and we're looking forward to continue to drive down crime in a real way.
In addition, we had an incident that took place last week with my campaign treasurer, and I just want to be completely transparent. It is what I've stated all the time, I sleep well at night. I am clear that we follow the rules. We follow the rules. And I am angry if there are those in any way attempt to do anything that will go against our process of how we collect campaign dollars or the procedures that are in our city.
But my campaign will follow the rules. We will continue to follow the rules. I have an excellent compliance attorney who has been carrying out his role throughout my entire campaign period, and we are going to continue to do so. And we're going to — as a former member of law enforcement — we're going to continue to comply with any inquiry, with any questions and show that we are going to make sure that we're able to allow those inquiries to go through the natural process. So, I will turn it over to you, Deputy Mayor Levy, and we'll open the floor to any questions.
Deputy Mayor Levy: Great. Charles?
Question: Mr. Mayor, I was sort of wondering about the optics of you deciding to come back from Washington where you were supposed to meet with the people at the White House about the migrant problem. You have a situation where you've said that the migrant problem is going to destroy the city. You have a situation where you have to come up with a five percent budget modification and cut agencies this very month. So, do you think that it was a wise optic for you to have come home given the fact that migrants are one of your… Probably your number one problem.
Mayor Adams: Migrants are our number one concern in this city. I have made that clear. What I am really pleased with is that we built that coalition, and that's why coalitions are important. In D.C., you had the mayor from Chicago, the mayor of Denver, we're hearing messages from the governor of Massachusetts, of Houston, Los Angeles. We're seeing a coalition that I talked about for quite some time, and because that coalition was in place they were able to continue the meetings.
I'm looking forward to continue to go to Washington and continue to lean on this issue that's impacting our city. As you stated, it's going to cost five percent cuts during the November plan, and then in January, we're going to have to come and look at another five percent cut. So, it is a crucial issue.
Marcia, you've been covering me for years. You know how I am. When there's an issue that needs to be addressed, I want to be on the ground to make sure it's addressed and to make sure our team is complying with the transparency that I expect from anyone that's part of not only my campaign team but my team here at City Hall.
When I received the notification, I did not want to be sitting inside a meeting somewhere when there was something playing out here in the city. And if there was any other reason to come back to the city, I would do so.
Question: So it wasn't… You know, I mean, was… I mean, it must have been a hard decision going through your head, I mean, White House, migrants, something going on back here. And by the time you found out about it, the raid had already taken place.
Mayor Adams: Yes. And you know, that's interesting, because I heard many people talk about coming back to the city at the time and how it, you know, how it impacted, what were the optics. You can't govern by optics, you've got to govern by action. And if you govern by any time someone is going to perceive something and put a [inaudible] to it, then you're not going to make the right decisions when you need to make the right decisions.
You know, this issue of the migrants, it's not going away. I will be back in D.C. and I will address the issue that I've been able to put together this coalition about. And so people are going to interpret your actions, you know, in many different ways. You have to go with your good, authentic leadership style, and my leadership style has always been the same. And you know, sometimes you get good optics, sometimes you get bad optics. But I'm going to continue to be the leader that I've always been.
Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor Adams: How are you, Kelly?
Question: I'm all the way back here. To follow up on that question, how do you feel you're going to be able to juggle both the migrant crisis and this FBI raid that happened to Suggs? I also want to get details on your professional relationship. How did you meet her? What type of working relationship you have with her. And if you've spoken to her recently. In your recent interview you said that you would still want her to be on your campaign. Is she aware of that?
Mayor Adams: Well, you know, in the beginning of my comments I talked about the complexity of running a city like this. If you are not a person, as a natural characteristic, to be able to remain focused and disciplined to carry out the actions, then this is really not the job for… To be the mayor of the City of New York.
Look at… You know, we navigated through Covid, many of you don't remember what that was; high crime; we're navigating through 120 protests, some of them side by side with each other. We navigate through, you know, decrease in subway ridership. You know, every day in this city I cannot… You know, one day I'm going to do, put a video up, a life in the time of the mayor of the City of New York.
Every day there is a crisis. The most important thing for me was to build a leadership team, you know, to say that can we navigate this? Maria, you know, and what we're doing around jobs, able to recover the largest amount of jobs in this city's history during those most difficult times. Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom. We still have these migrant crisis. Every day we're trying to figure out how we're going to place people in a place to sleep in the city.
And so talking about how do you juggle it, this is part of the job: there's always going to be some form of crisis in the city, and we will navigate through it. Our city is going to be fine.
And I want to talk, you said… You asked me a question about Brianna Suggs. Started in the office as an intern. I'll never forget when Barack Obama ran for president and I was one of the seven elected officials to endorse him. The only thing I asked of him, I stated that African Americans normally don't get to play on a national scale as fundraisers, as media, speechwriters, as… You know, people of color just don't get those opportunities.
And in the state senate, Ingrid and I both saw how young college interns went on to become chief of staffs, become commissioners, and they were overwhelmingly not people of color. Black and brown folks just didn't get those opportunities. And so here I was able to identify a team to run my campaign, and one of them was a fundraiser. And I had a young, brilliant young lady who was an intern, hardworking, was willing to work as many hours as possible.
And we saw an opportunity for her, to open a pathway for her that I saw others get. And we brought her on board, and I was pleasantly surprised. She out-raised every other fundraiser that was in the race. She worked hard. She learned. And people who met her were really blown away by her professionalism and her skill.
And I'm really proud of her, and I'm sure she's going to get through this, because she followed the rules. She was very clear on what I stated, we must always follow the rules because we knew that our campaign will always be scrutinized, and so we wanted to make sure we were above reproach, and we're going to continue to do that.
Question: Mr. Mayor, as part of our conversation last week and you reiterated it today, it is important to be here on the ground. So, once you arrived back here in New York, what was it that you actually did on the ground that maybe you could not have done while you were in D.C.?
Mayor Adams: Well, I'm not going to go into the exact particulars on what actions I did but I was here and I was present. And you know, Dan, leadership is about presence. You know, when you have something like that action that takes place, you know, your team is looking at you and your presence is everything. And I wanted to be here among not only my campaign team but my City Hall team. You know, their leader needs to be here during those difficult times.
That is just how I lead. I cannot express it any more… You know, many days, Jeff will tell you, we'll have a terrible crime scene, and I'm there. You know, I want the rank and file officers to see the mayor takes this seriously. Today I was down at our own retail theft summit. You know, I didn't have to go. People… I lead by people seeing me, my visible presence. That's just my style of leadership.
Question: Was there a conversation with White House officials prior to flying back to say, hey, I'm not going to be in attendance at the meeting? And did the White House at all say to you because of what's happening in New York, don't come in?
Mayor Adams: No. The White House didn't do that. And I think someone reported that, that is just not true. And keep in mind, I did not call for the meeting in D.C., another coalition partner called for it, the mayor of Denver. He was the coalition partner. He called for the meeting. I was an invited guest as part of this coalition that we were able to establish.
Question: Are you going to the Somos conference, and if not, why?
Mayor Adams: No, I'm not going this year, for a number of reasons. And you know, I felt sort of disappointed with even my team here. Normally the city picks up the tab to go to Somos, but I told all my team members that if they go they have to pay their own way to go because we're dealing with a serious fiscal crisis in the city beyond our imagination.
And me using taxpayers' dollars right now is not the best thing to do, and I made the determination that I'm going to remain here. We still have to produce the November plan that is a few days away. And some of these cuts are just frightening. It's going to break our heart, and I have been sitting down with Jacques and his team over at OMB to go over these numbers.
And so I don't think that it is appropriate for me to, you know, have on a flowery shirt lying on a beach drinking a margarita when I'm telling everyday New Yorkers that it's going to be a tough fiscal crisis. So, I made the determination not to go this year.
Question: Mayor, good morning. I'm in the back.
Mayor Adams: How's it goin'?
Question: Not too bad.
Mayor Adams: Good. Good to see you. And we're Mets fans here, that Yankee hat don't rock.
Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Chief Advisor to the Mayor: I’m a Yankee fan. [Inaudible.] I’m a Yankee.
Question: Just wanted to ask you about the coalition with the other political names you mentioned, Denver and some of the other ones. Have you had conversations about maybe asking them can they shoulder some of the load as far as housing migrants? And then just the responses that you've been getting as you've been trying to save New York, we're busting at the seams here.
Mayor Adams: Well said. And we just had a letter, a sign on letter, that we signed on with mayors across the country that's calling for support, more support for the economics of those cities that are being impacted. And we want to continue to just coalesce with our coalition. I'm just really pleased that mayors across the country are now saying… And stepping up in a real way of saying this is not right for a city, any city in our country, to burden a national problem.
And we're going to continue to grow this coalition as much as possible. Those mayors that came, Denver and Chicago, you know, our Chicago mayor would tell you he has individuals who are sleeping in their police precincts. It is overwhelming their system. They were directly impacted, but we want to expand this coalition to have a real decompression strategy across our entire country.
But yes. We need help, and we're asking, I've been stating this over and over again, and I'm happy to see others are hearing what we're saying. But we're going to need assistance to get through this.
Deputy Mayor Levy: If chief of staff or deputy mayor wanted to add anything additional about the coalition that we're adding.
Camille Joseph Varlack, Chief of Staff to the Mayor: Sure. I mean, we've been in conversations with other cities for some time, so it's great that there is a manifestation of it when we went down to D.C. last week, and that will continue. Molly Schaeffer, who is the interim acting director of the Office of Asylum Seekers, has been meeting with her counterparts in multiple cities that are all impacted, and the team has been working on coming up with a national decompression strategy.
Question: Are you satisfied with those conversations that you're hearing and they're just not trying to pacify the New York delegation? Are you comfortable with what you're hearing?
Varlack: Yes. So, the conversations that I'm referring to are with other mayors who are, some of them are similarly situated, right? So, they're getting asylum seekers, and so we have conversations about what we're doing here, and you know, how we can be helpful, et cetera.
We are all unified in wanting the same things that we continue to advocate to the federal government for, right, which is one, they should finish the job. They let a lot of these folks into the country. They come over the border, you know, using some sort of an illegal pathway and then they get here, and unfortunately, they're not able to work in our communities because they don't have a legal pathway to work.
And so we want the feds to finish the job. That's the primary thing that asylum seekers have been asking for, that's what the mayor has been saying in his conversations with asylum seekers. He's been very clear on that. And so we continue to advocate, and I think it's just a great, it's just great for us to have that formalized sort of coalition to go back to D.C. to continue to advocate for these things.
Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom, Health and Human Services And I just want to add, because I know you all know this, but we know how to do this. The federal government knows how to resettle folks that come here. And so we want them to do that same kind of resettlement that we know how to do. And when you talk to other cities, the first thing that they're going to say is, are their funds available so that we can get housing and connect kids to school and all the things that we need. So, we are trying to do the best that we can, but it would be great if there was funding for the federal government to do sort of a national resettlement program.
Mayor Adams: Over 50 percent… And I keep saying this over and over again, and I'm not seeing this reported a lot, but over 50 percent of those who arrived here, we have been able to stabilize in one way or another. That is remarkable, over 50 percent.
Question: So, obviously, you know, as Camille and the deputy mayor said, federal aid is super necessary right now for this city and you had an opportunity to meet with White House officials and directly ask for it. Doesn't your coming home sort of substantively amount to your prioritizing your campaign's needs over the needs of New York City?
Mayor Adams: No. Next question.
Question: Hi. My name is Javier Castaño from Queens Latino and because everybody's asking you about the situation in Washington D.C. and migrants, this is basically history here. It has to be something with the fact that you invite every… The press for the first time here today.
Mayor Adams: No, this, right. And we're going to see that more and more. We have an ethnic media office. One of the things that I saw when I came in office is the lack of access to the ethnic media. And you know, not everyone in the city speaks English. Not everyone in the city will have the large manpower.
And so what José has done in my ethnic media office — it was the first time it was created — is that we have ethnic media interviews throughout each week. We look at our ethnic press in this city. We have a large Bangladeshi, a large Spanish speaking, large Asian press, and so we want to really allow the ethnic media to be part of the experience.
For far too long you have not been noticed. You have been ignored, you've been overlooked. And we just refuse to do that in this administration, and so we hope that we can find an easier way to get information to you and also allow you to be at these briefings that we have so we can make sure that your constituency should know the great things that we're doing in this administration.
Deputy Mayor Levy: Mayor, can I add something just to the question that Dana asked before, and Antwan. So, just as a reminder, I know people are asking about just last week, but the mayor and Camille and others have been down to D.C. multiple times and meeting with the White House multiple times to ask for aid for the asylum seeker crisis, to ask for a decompression strategy, to ask for expedited work authorization.
And I think the main point we want to get across, that the coalition wants to get across, is the federal government is the ones who paroled all these individuals into the country as asylum seekers. It's time they finish the job: give them the expedited work authorization, give us the funding to make sure that we can support them, and you know, make sure that they have a shot at the American dream. Make sure that it's not on one or two or five cities across the country that are, you know, handling the over-shared burden of this crisis. You know, there's 100 and… What do you say, mayor, 108,000 towns, villages?
Mayor Adams: 108,000 cities, villages and towns.
Deputy Mayor Levy: So, you know, it's not just one, two, five cities.
Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor Adams: Good morning.
Question: So, we all know in this room about your law enforcement experience, and so given that, I'm curious. You know, the fact that the FBI had enough probable cause to raid Brianna Suggs' apartment, given that, are you concerned over the fact that it's also likely they had enough probable cause to intercept phone conversations she may have been having.
And you know, given that likelihood, what message do you think it sends New Yorkers when you prioritize coming back here over the migrant crisis, which as Marcia said, has been kind of your priority for the past year or so. When you came back to the city, was it out of a concern over the potential for wiretaps or phone conversations being intercepted?
Mayor Adams: No, Michael. I had a 25-year-old staffer that I saw grow up as a intern that had a traumatizing experience in her life. There was a professional part of maintaining, you know, my staff and my city, but I think sometimes we miss the fact that there's a human part to life. As a human being, I was concerned about a young 25-year-old staffer that went through a traumatic experience. And although I'm mayor, I have not stopped being a man, and a human.
Lisa Zornberg, Chief Counsel to the Mayor and City Hall: I just want to jump in in response to that question. I would discourage just out of prudence the making of assumptions and to also repeat and be clear that the mayor, his team, City Hall, we're incredibly respectful of legal process, but that doesn't mean anyone should make legal assumptions. And I think as you know there have been no accusations of wrongdoing that we are aware of, so…
Question: Do you think it's likely that there is a wiretap in play given the fact that her apartment was raided? I mean, given your kind of [inaudible]...
Zornberg: I think you're making an assumption, and I don't think, I don't think one connects to the other, and legally, there are different standards for two. So, but again, I think the point is really not to speculate but to repeat the basic premise that the mayor has made clear which is that we're in a fully cooperative mode and we're very respectful of legal process.
Question: Okay. Hi, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor Adams: How are you?
Question: I'm okay, thank you. So, can you just run through for us one more time, on Thursday morning, who was it, who called you with the news that there was a raid? And also, just to follow up on the previous questions. Why can't you discuss what you did to deal with the situation, whether that is comforting Brianna Suggs in some way, some example of how you did that? When you landed back in New York, what was it that your staff could see you doing to govern on the ground that the public can't know about?
Mayor Adams: I did not speak with Brianna the day of the incident because I didn't want to give any appearance of interference. And I want to be clear on that. And I was notified by our campaign team that reached out to me and notified me. The details of my interaction with the counsel of the campaign, the compliance counsel, while this is an ongoing inquiry, I am not going to go into the details of those conversations.
I respect the law enforcement process. And when you respect that, when you understand it, I've done it for 22 years, the worst thing you can do is to give any impression of trying to interfere, and I'm not going to do that. And I am sure that the men and women of the media would be able to get any questions that they need answered as time goes on, but right now I'm not going to enter those discussions.
Question: Mr. Mayor, we're not asking you what you discussed with the campaign team, we're just asking what you did, like did you meet with your campaign counsel when you returned to New York?
Mayor Adams: I communicated and I navigated the ongoing situation as it was ongoing, and I wanted to be present to do that. And again, I keep going back to my style of leadership. This is my style of leadership. Some don't have the same style. That style of leadership got me to where I am today, and it allowed me to be successful as a police officer, as a state senator, as the borough president, and now I'm going to continue that success as the mayor.
Deputy Mayor Levy: Melissa, just to add to that. I think also you saw we had open press events and some that were not open press. And even at the non-open press, your station was there and asked questions, so the mayor answered questions that day. I would remind you about that.
Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor. Have you already retained or are you planning to hire a private lawyer for the FBI inquiry into your campaign? And if so, has this lawyer been in contact with federal law enforcement yet?
Mayor Adams: Yes, I have retained… Campaign and private and they have, as we stated, we're going to cooperate as much as possible, so they have communicated with the inquiry… Agencies that are doing the inquiries.
Question: Hey, Mr. Mayor. How ya' doin'?
Mayor Adams: Good. How are you?
Question: Good, good. So, I wanted to ask about the donors to your campaign. Are you concerned at all that any other donors are going to be caught up in any other investigation, whether it's a search warrant of their house or charges from a local prosecutor? And specifically about you.
I know that you've maintained that the campaign has done nothing wrong, but how concerned are you, if at all, or how much can you guarantee that no federal prosecutors are going to ultimately find that your campaign was liable, that you were liable, that you did anything wrong? Either them or local prosecutors, how much will you maintain that you will not be charged with anything?
Mayor Adams: You know, I would be shocked if someone states that our campaign coordinated an illegal behavior. I just, I cannot tell you how much I start the day with telling my team we've got to follow the law. Got to follow the law. Almost to the point that I'm annoying. I just strongly believe you have to follow the law. And so it would… It would really shock me if someone that was hired by my campaign did something that was inappropriate. Not only would it shock me, it would hurt me.
Mayor Adams: I'm sorry?
Question: …If the federal government came up with charges against you, or local prosecutors charges against you, would you also be surprised?
Mayor Adams: I've got to be surprised if I'm the one that's leading the cry of following the law. You know, we're going to comply and be as transparent as possible, and that's the role of our counsel for our compliance and the legal team that we brought on board.
Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. How you doin'?
Mayor Adams: Good. How you doin'?
Question: Not too bad. Two quick questions for you. I'm wondering if anyone in City Hall or you has been contacted by the investigating authorities. And secondly, I wonder if you could tell us a little more about how you got connected with Turkey, why you seem to have an affinity for the country? You've been there multiple times. Can you tell us about what you did on some of your trips there?
Mayor Adams: Well, my passport is full. You know, I've been to Africa seven times, I've traveled throughout Central and South America. I think I've been to China six times. I've been to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, you know, throughout Vietnam. You know, I mean, that's who I am. And when I was borough president and state senator, I traveled to Turkey even before being in the borough presidency. I went on Thanksgiving Day, you know, just for three days.
I think it's a beautiful country. I think it has a lot of history. But the fact that I have one of the largest Turkish populations, I think Patterson has a larger one than New York, Patterson, New Jersey. The former Borough President Marty Markowitz was extremely close with the Turkish community, and when I became the borough president, they embraced me.
And we just thought it was a great opportunity to exchange ideas, as we do with all these countries. And we want to attract businesses here. And when you look at how people feel when we do flag raisings with their countries, it's just an unbelievable emotion for those countries that's saying that we acknowledge them.
And so Turkey as well as any other country, I want to attract people to the city. You know there's nothing specific about that one particular country, it's all of the countries across the globe. This is an international city, and I want to continue to attract people here.
Zornberg: Can I jump in? Can I jump in?
Mayor Adams: Yes.
Zornberg: Mayor, just to the first part of your question. You had asked if we're in touch at all with the SDNY. And the answer is yes, of course we are. The mayor has publicly pledged his cooperation, and we've been in touch.
Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor Adams: How are you? Good to see you.
Question: [Inaudible.] Mr. Mayor, do you feel like you've been targeted with this scrutiny with your campaign? I mean, as we're grassroots, so [inaudible] is that, you know, you're a Black mayor, and maybe that's why this is happening. Could you speak to that?
Mayor Adams: You know, I can't speculate. I think that history has a way of revealing all things, but I can't speculate. If I start speculating on why things happen, I just, you know, I won't be able to do the challenge of being the mayor of this city during these extraordinary times. You know, things happen for a reason. I can't even give a speculation on why. And whoever missed your show, they need to see it, you know.
Question: Mr. Mayor, going back to what you said about being able to handle multiple crises at the same time. You know, this took you away from D.C. for these very important meetings. Presumably this investigation is going to be long and sprawling. What if there are other instances that you feel like need your immediate attention and it takes you away from doing your mayoral duties?
Mayor Adams: I'm a bit surprised at how people that watched me over these years during all of the things that have happened particularly over these last 22 months. I think the last question folks will be asking is that can you multitask. I think that would be the last question.
I think that those of you who have covered me, many of you after traveling with me either to Israel or somewhere else, you had to take a week off to rest, to recover. You know, I have the stamina to do his job as the mayor of the City of New York, and those who have covered me, you know that. And you know I can manage a multitude of things at one time, and we're doing it.
And the most important part of being able to do that is those who sit to the left and right of me. I have a first-rate chief advisor, first rate first deputy mayor, chief of staff who are, they are the heart and soul of the team and they manage all the components of the team. And I am clear that we're going to navigate the city through all of these actions that are coming up.
Lewis-Martin: And let me just jump in for a second. Also look at the tenets of the meeting. Had the mayor stayed in Washington, probably most of the focus would have been on what was going on in New York with the press there. It is very important to us that the federal government knows and understands that we need help.
We had two other partners there, one of whom had called the meeting to deliver that message, and they did an awesome job in delivering it. And that's what we needed to be done, and we had to ensure that that remained in place.
Mayor Adams: Well said.
Question: Thanks. Mr. Mayor, have you ever communicated with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan either directly or indirectly, and what was that conversation about, and could you give us the names of your attorneys that you've retained?
Mayor Adams: Yes. WilmerHale is the attorney — I always mix up the pronunciation — that's the law firm that I've retained. They are professionals in this area. I was at a dinner once here for a nonprofit, and the president of Turkey was there and his staffers stated that… The Turkish constituents here in New York City stated that I was extremely supportive of them.
And he greeted me, said hello. We exchanged pleasantries. I was the borough president at the time. I said hello. And that was the extent of our conversation.
Question: Can I just ask about the NYPD wellness raid?
Mayor Adams: Oh, no, no, because that's an important question. Yes, that's an important question. Yes.
Question: How common is that tactic? How many times has the FBI requested a wellness check ahead of a raid?
Mayor Adams: Okay, first, let's really close the door on this. The mayor's office had no role in that at all. We learned from your reporting. I don't know who reported it first. It was the New York Post. That was the first time we learned about it.
The NYPD communicated that they were shocked, I believe, of Deputy Mayor Levy when he reached out, the DCPI said, you know, we doubt anything like that ever happened. Until they dug in more, they were able to find out. We had no role in that at all. And I want to be clear on that. We had no role in that at all. The IB carried out the request, but that did not reach City Hall at all.
Deputy Mayor Levy: To be clear, an outlet reached out to us, we didn't hear about it, and so I called over to NYPD to figure it out. They didn't think it was real. They called up and they said, yep, sometimes you have your federal partners work with local law enforcement. I mean, Lisa's former law enforcement, so she could probably speak better than I can to this.
Zornberg: I don't think it's that atypical if… I mean, this is a federal law enforcement issue, but if they need to confirm who's at a particular address and they don't have recent information, there are various ruses that authorities can use to just confirm in a recent time period who's at a particular address.
So, it appears, and again, I don't want to promote any speculation at all, but it appears that federal authorities were looking to freshen up some information and they sought some assistance from local NYPD that had absolutely nothing to do with City Hall and that we had no idea about whatsoever.
Question: Hey, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor Adams: Yes.
Question: I asked you a few weeks ago about the police investigation of the officers who killed Kawaski Trawick, and there's a certain amount of reporting about problems with both the FID investigation and the CCRB disciplinary process which include, you know, they barely interviewed the officers. They never asked the officers about the ways that their testimony was contradicted by video evidence.
So, your staff says that this process enjoys your full confidence and that you're not going to intervene and you're going to let the NYPD do whatever it's going to do. My question to you is, why does it enjoy your full confidence knowing everything we know about the problems with this case, and why should New Yorkers have confidence in it?
Mayor Adams: I think that New Yorkers do have confidence in the New York City Police Department, and we're one of the few municipalities that would have in place a CCRB. I'm blown away what happens in other municipalities. And that system is an independent system with their own level of investigations.
And as I stated then and I'm going to continue to say, that I'm not going to interfere. Once the commissioner makes his final determination, I'm going to sit down with the family and hear from them. And we always look at how to produce a better product. If there's something that we could have done better, we would do so.
But the CCRB has a time limit when they're supposed to turn over information. And I believe that we need to examine, did they turn it over in a timely fashion so that we can do our proper review. And so as soon as this is concluded, I'm going to sit down and sit down with the Kawaski family and give them the audience that they're seeking.
Question: Mr. Mayor, how are you?
Mayor Adams: Yes. Good to see you.
Question: Good to see you. As I remember some of the first statements you made when you canceled your itinerary in Washington, one of them was that your team rejects often a lot of contributions to your campaign. And my question is, do you recall any specific examples either by donors of the way, any red flags in the way these donations were being made to…
Mayor Adams: Yes, great question. We returned thousands upon thousands of contributions. We look and we see something as simple as a large number of money orders in [an] order, that's a red flag for us. If we look at the signatures, the signatures don't match, that's a red flag for us. Before a check is deposited, our compliance attorney sits down, look over the paperwork, look over the signatures and see does it pass his smell test.
And we're very thorough about it because it was my position at the beginning, our campaign will be scrutinized at a high level and we must make sure that we can withstand that scrutiny. So, those are just two examples that I could think of.