In the two months since its launch, Mayor Eric Adams’ legal defense trust has raised at least $650,000 to help cover lawyer fees he and his associates rack up as part of an FBI investigation into his 2021 campaign’s finances.
Vito Pitta, Adams’ longtime campaign compliance attorney who helps run the trust, disclosed the fundraising haul in a statement Monday.
“The Eric Adams Legal Defense Trust has drawn strong support in a short amount of time, raising more than $650,000 since it was formed just two months ago,” Pitta’s statement said.
Pitta would not immediately provide any more information about the matter, including how many individual donors were behind the $650,000 haul, which was first reported by NY1. The trust is expected to file its first full disclosure Tuesday that will spell out more details.
City rules state Adams can accept contributions of up to $5,000 per person for the fund. He’s barred from collecting donations from city employees and those engaged in city business. Donors must also agree their contribution won’t “affect any future business dealings” with the city.
Adams launched the trust in mid-November after FBI agents raided the home of Brianna Suggs, his political fundraising chief, as part of a federal investigation into whether the Turkish government funneled illegal contributions into the mayor’s 2021 campaign coffers.
On the heels of the Suggs raid, FBI agents stopped the mayor in the street and seized his electronics, including two cellphones.
The FBI has also carried out raids at the homes of Rana Abbasova, an aide to Adams at City Hall, and Cenk Öcal, a former Turkish Airlines executive who served on the mayor’s 2021 transition team.
Neither Adams nor anyone connected to his campaign have been formally accused of wrongdoing.
According to sources familiar with the matter, federal investigators are, among other issues, looking at whether KSK Construction, a Brooklyn-based contractor founded by Turkish nationals, was used as a vessel to pump illegal foreign cash into the mayor’s 2021 campaign account. Campaign disclosures show KSK executives donated more than $13,000 to Adams’ campaign on the same day in May 2021.