US prosecutors and the FBI are conducting a broad public corruption investigation into whether New York Mayor Eric Adams’s 2021 election campaign conspired with the Turkish government to receive illegal foreign donations, The New York Times and other US media outlets reported.
The investigation came to public attention on Thursday when US federal agents conducted an early-morning raid at the Brooklyn home of the mayor’s chief fundraiser, Brianna Suggs. Suggs is a campaign consultant who is deeply entwined with efforts to advance the mayor’s agenda.
Law enforcement officials who are familiar with the search warrants told CNN the investigators are seeking evidence that foreign nationals –- who are barred from making contributions –- may have “bundled” donations by going into New York’s Turkish-American communities and getting US citizens of Turkish origin to act as “straw contributors.”
Adams attended an event hosted by first lady Emine Erdoğan at Turkish House in New York on Sept. 19. The ‘Path to the Global Zero Waste Movement’ event, was also attended by spouses of heads of state and governments participating in the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Turkish president Erdogan's wife Emine was seen in Sept.2023 with New York Mayor Eric Adams who is now under FBI investigation for 2021 election campaign conspiracy that extends to Turkey. pic.twitter.com/C9WSVy2Bt8
— Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) November 3, 2023
Investigators sought to learn more about the potential involvement of a Brooklyn construction company with ties to Turkey as well as a small university in Washington, D.C., that also has ties to Turkey and to Adams.
Investigators also sought evidence to support potential charges that included the theft of federal funds and conspiracy to steal federal funds, wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy, as well as campaign contributions by foreign nationals and conspiracy to make such contributions.
Adams addressed the investigation into his campaign on Thursday evening, saying he holds himself and his campaign to a high standard.
“I feel extremely comfortable about how I comply with rules and procedures. I’ve stated this over and over again. I hold myself to a high standard, I hold my campaign to a high standard, and I hold my staffers at city hall to a high standard,” he said.
According to the search warrant, investigators were also focused on whether the mayor’s campaign kicked back benefits to the Brooklyn construction company’s officials and employees, and to Turkish officials.
The agents seized three iPhones and two laptop computers along with papers and other evidence, including something agents identified as a “manila folder labeled Eric Adams,” seven “contribution card binders” and other materials, according to the documents.
There was no indication that the investigation was targeting the mayor, and he is not accused of wrongdoing. Yet the raid apparently prompted him to abruptly cancel several meetings scheduled for Thursday morning in Washington, D.C., where he planned to speak with White House officials and members of Congress about the migrant crisis.
Instead, he hurriedly returned to New York “to deal with a matter,” a spokesman for the mayor said.
He said he had not been contacted by any law enforcement officials but pledged to cooperate in any inquiry. Adams said he returned from Washington to be “on the ground” to “look at this inquiry” as it unfolded.
Adams has boasted of his ties to Turkey, most recently during a flag-raising he hosted for the country in Lower Manhattan last week. The mayor said that there were probably no other mayors in New York City history who had visited Turkey as frequently as he has.
“I think I’m on my sixth or seventh visit,” he said. At least one of those visits happened while he was Brooklyn borough president, when the government of Turkey underwrote the excursion, The Daily News reported.
Suggs, who could not be reached for comment, is an essential cog in Mr. Adams’s fundraising machine.
A person with knowledge of the raid said agents from one of the public corruption squads in the FBI’s New York office questioned Suggs during the search of her home.
Suggs has worked for Adams since 2017, starting as an intern in his office when he was the Brooklyn borough president, according to her profile on the LinkedIn social media network.
She managed the raising of $18.4 million for Adams’ successful mayor election campaign in 2021 and has overseen the amassing of more than $2.7 million in contributions for his 2025 reelection campaign, according to campaign finance disclosures.