Adams’ wealthy supporters pad defense fund

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(The Center Square) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ legal defense fund has been padded by hundreds of thousands of dollars from billionaires, including Mike Bloomberg, according to new financial disclosures.

The Eric Adams Legal Defense Trust was created in November in response to a federal cost looking into whether the Democrat’s campaign conspired to avoid finance rules by funneling donations from the Turkish government.

Adams hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing by the FBI but hired a lawyer and set up the fund to solicit donations for his legal defense.

Since then, at least 228 individuals have chipped into $660,000 in Adams’ defense fund, with nearly half donating the maximum amount of $5,000, according to newly released financial disclosures.

That includes Bloomberg, the Big Apple’s former mayor, and cryptocurrency guru Brock Pierce, a former actor who ran for president as an independent in the 2020 election. Both maxed out a $5,000 donation, according to disclosures.

Others who donated to Adam’s fund included Ukrainian businessman Leonard Blavatnik, who has ties to U.S. sanctioned Russian oligarch, and billionaire real-estate developer Alexander Rovt and members of his family. Frank Carone, Adams’s former chief of staff, donated $5,000. Three other members of Carone’s family each donated $5,000, the disclosures show.

Adams himself cut a check for $120 to the fund, according to the disclosures.

A majority of the fund’s expenses have been devoted to paying legal services, with nearly $400,000 going to the law firm WilmerHale, the disclosures show. Vito Pitta, the mayor’s campaign lawyer, has been paid $7,500 from the fund. The Artus Group, a private detective firm, was paid $18,664 for “investigative services,” Haystack, a digital forensics firm, received more than $6,000.

In addition to the money disclosed in the campaign finance filings, Adams has collected another $75,000, bringing the fund’s total to about 725,000, his lawyer disclosed earlier this week.

Under campaign finance rules, Adams can accept contributions of up to $5,000 for legal fees, but donors must be disclosed. City employees and people who have direct business dealings with the city are prohibited from donating.

Federal agents raided the home of Breanna Suggs in early November as part of an investigation into whether Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign conspired with a Brooklyn-based construction company to funnel foreign money into the campaign by way of a straw donor scheme. Suggs served as a chief fundraiser for Adams’s 2021 gubernatorial campaign.

Investigators also seized Adams’ electronic devices, including two cell phones and an iPad, as part of the investigation.

Adams denies any wrongdoing and claims that his campaign “followed the rules” during his run for mayor. He noted that neither he nor Suggs had been accused of crimes by state or federal authorities.

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