Year's worth of schedules show a busy New York mayor — with key details missingDecember 28, 2023
NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams rubs elbows with the city’s business and financial elite, attends to ethnic groups who make up his political base and appears at multiple ribbon cuttings and galas each week.
But he avoids disclosing much about the daily encounters of his high-profile job.
A year’s worth of official schedules released Wednesday reveal scores of events and meetings with administration aides, a penchant for hobnobbing and a handful of trips abroad. But they fail to illuminate some of the most basic aspects of the Democrat’s mayoralty, like which elected officials he’s speaking with during regular calls. The schedules also denote a routine “prep call” without disclosing the subject matter and attendees. In another case, Adams was scheduled to hold a “meet and greet” at City Hall on Aug. 2, 2023, but who exactly he met with was omitted.
The schedules also exclude details about his overseas junkets and his infamous late nights on the town.
The administration released a daily calendar covering July 2022 through August 2023 pursuant to a Freedom of Information Law request — the first such disclosure in 15 months.
The 426 pages covering that time period, which are more detailed than the daily public schedules Adams’ team puts out each night, mark a step back in transparency. For much of his predecessor’s tenure, ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio routinely published copies of his schedule that named everyone attending calls and meetings, while also requiring leading city officials to disclose their interactions with lobbyists.
Adams’ schedules often include the subject matter of staff meetings, unlike those of his predecessor. But he ended de Blasio’s lobbying disclosure because, as his aides previously said, it is not legally required. His team also pointed to the former mayor’s Covid-era departure from them as justification for scrapping the mandate.
Adams’ schedules include almost no mention of meetings with lobbyists. Despite that, a public database kept by the city clerk shows city lobbyists appealing to the mayor’s office — which includes other top aides — hundreds of times on issues ranging from real estate plans to city contracts since Adams’ tenure began on Jan. 1, 2022. His spokesperson declined to answer whether the mayor has ever met with a lobbyist, instead sending a copy of an article POLITICO published in March of 2022 breaking news of the dissolution of that practice.
“Like just about every major government office in America, we release the mayor’s schedule every day and our legal team answers public records requests as promptly as possible,” Deputy Mayor Fabien Levy said in a statement. “While these practices simply continue those of the prior administration we inherited when entering office, Mayor Adams may be the most visible mayor New York City has ever had — and any reporter wondering what the mayor is up to can attend one of our many public events and ask.” (The mayor only makes himself available one day a week to answer questions from reporters on the topics of their choosing.)
Unlike de Blasio, who publicly antagonized New York’s business elites, Adams has made a point of courting the city’s monied class and acknowledging their contributions to the tax base.
The schedules reveal regular check-ins with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a multibillionaire whom Adams has cited as a close confidant, among his meetings with financial and business titans. He dined at the $91.5 million penthouse of hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman in November 2022 and met with Mellody Hobson, chair of the Starbucks board of directors, in April of this year.
The schedules also show Adams carving out unstructured time in the evenings — when he is known to frequent swank restaurants like Midtown’s Osteria La Baia and Casa Cipriani. (Levy said City Hall does not include the mayor’s personal time on the schedule.)
Amid his busy calendar, Adams barely met with the City Council speaker, Adrienne Adams, whose legislative body has become an increasing critic of the administration. He did carve out time for periodic interactions with Gov. Kathy Hochul and Albany’s legislative leaders, who hold far more sway over his agenda than the Council leader. He also made several trips to the nation’s capital to push for more resources to manage the city’s asylum-seeker crisis.
“Ten trips to Washington, D.C., and it’s as though there’s no real plan that’s coming out,” Adams said during a televised interview Wednesday night. “Both Senator Schumer and Congressman Jeffries are fighting to get the plan through Congress that’s going to allocate funds to the Ukrainian war and what’s happening in the Middle East. But we need a real package for the southern border and those cities that are being impacted currently.”
He shed a dimmer light on his overseas trips.
Last December, Adams traveled to an antisemitism conference in Athens, Greece before heading to Qatar to watch a World Cup game. At the time, he described his excursion to the Middle Eastern country as necessary to observe how officials handled logistics for the game since New Jersey will be hosting the international event in 2026, and New York anticipates an uptick in tourism as a result.
Details of who the mayor met with during that sojourn were sparse at the time. And entries for those days were nearly blank on the schedules released Wednesday.
When asked why the Qatar stay was far less detailed than the mayor’s trips to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, Levy said Adams’ team was not always able to use the city’s scheduling software during his Middle Eastern journey.
The schedules showed several events with Turkish organizations — notable given federal prosecutors’ continued probe into potential collusion between Adams’ 2021 campaign and the government of Turkey.
On Oct. 21, 2022, a Turkish real estate group was set to hold a conference in City Hall. Just days later the organization, GYODER, hosted two top Adams aides in Istanbul, where they spoke at a conference. Adams himself delivered virtual remarks.
On Jan. 17, 2023, Adams spoke at the Anatolian Lions Businessmen’s Association summit at Turkevi Center — the building developed by the Turkish government that is reportedly playing a role in the federal investigation.
And on Dec. 5, 2022 the mayor’s schedule was sure to note that it was World Turkish Coffee Day.
City Hall also released schedules covering the beginning of the administration through February 2023 for Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks. Amid sitdowns and calls with NYPD officials and FDNY brass, Banks also met with several figures tied to Adams’ political operations and law enforcement investigations into the mayor’s 2021 campaign.
On Feb 10, 2022, Banks met with Brianna Suggs, the mayor’s 25-year-old chief political fundraiser whose house was raided last month by the FBI in connection with the federal probe.
Adams and his team have maintained the campaign followed all the rules, and no one has been charged in the investigation.
A day later, Banks met with Dwayne Montgomery, a central figure accused by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg of orchestrating a straw donor scheme to funnel money into the mayor’s 2021 campaign.
An Adams campaign spokesperson had said the mayor and Montgomery knew one another from simultaneous careers in the NYPD. The spokesperson said many former law enforcement officials raised money for the mayor’s 2021 run.
Days after that, Banks met with Al Cockfield, a reverend who set up a PAC designed to support Adams’ political allies.
Levy declined to answer questions about Banks’ meetings.