NEW YORK - The FBI is investigating whether over two years ago, Mayor Eric Adams' campaign – who had just won the city’s Democratic primary for mayor – pressured Fire Department officials to allow the Turkish consulate across from the United Nations to open despite safety concerns.
The New York Times first reported the development, citing "three people with knowledge of the matter." The gleaming building cost nearly $300 million and stands 35 stories tall. Turkey’s president called it a "masterpiece," and presided over its grand opening in September 2021.
Here's everything we know so far about the investigation:
Why is the FBI investigating?
The focus of the investigation hasn't been publicly disclosed by prosecutors, but a search warrant obtained by the Times indicated investigators are reportedly looking into whether the Adams campaign gave benefits to Turkish officials in exchange for campaign donations. It's illegal to accept donations from foreign nationals.
The FBI is poring over text messages from that year between now-Mayor Eric Adams, then-Fire Commissioner Dan Nigro and the Turkish consul general. Agents seized phones and an iPad from Adams last Monday.
The FBI recently knocked on Nigro’s door to ask him about the mayor’s involvement, according to the Times.
The agency showed up at his door the day after executing a search warrant at the home of Breanna Suggs, the mayor’s top fundraiser.
Who is Brianna Suggs?
Suggs has worked for Adams since 2017, starting as a teenager when he was the Brooklyn Borough president.
When Adams ran for mayor, she served as a chief fundraiser and director of logistics, helping to organize events and soliciting money from donors.
Neither the mayor nor Suggs has been accused of wrongdoing.
In a statement, City Hall’s chief counsel said, "The mayor and our team are continuing to work with investigators and cooperate. We hope that investigators will continue to cooperate with us and reprimand any federal officer who has improperly leaked details about this investigation as such conduct could prejudice the public and undermines the integrity of our law enforcement process."
How does Mayor Adams fit into the investigation?
The mayor’s attorney, Boyd Johnson, last week said Adams has "not been accused of any wrongdoing" and is continuing to cooperate with the investigation.
In an interview with FOX 5 NY's Rosanna Scotto recorded Thursday, Adams continued to defend himself and members of his campaign.
He said he canceled his planned visit to Washington, D.C. on the day of the raid because he wanted to be back in the city to "make sure that things were stable."
Adams, 63, was elected mayor two years ago and has been in office since January 2022. He went into politics after a 22-year police career, serving as a state senator and in the largely ceremonial position of Brooklyn borough president before running for mayor.
Why did the FBI seize Adams' phones, iPad?
On Monday, the FBI seized Adams' phones and iPad, days after federal agents raided the home of a top fundraiser, FOX 5 NY confirmed.
The devices were returned a few days later, but it's the first time the FBI is directly touching the mayor in their investigation.
A source told FOX 5 NY's Morgan McKay the mayor's office proactively called the FBI last week after news of the raid on the Brooklyn home of Adams’ chief fundraiser.
The source said they found an individual who acted "improperly" within the campaign, but would not go into detail about whom the person was or what they're being accused of.
The seizures happened after an event Monday night, according to a statement from Johnson.
How did it happen?
FOX 5 NY learned FBI agents approached Adams on the street Monday night and asked his security detail to step away.
They then climbed into the mayor's SUV with him and handed over a court-authorized warrant to seize his electronic devices.
Afterward, the source told FOX 5 NY the mayor found additional devices that he turned over to the FBI's Southern District of New York office and provided their codes for unlocking.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.