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politics

Year-long calendars show busy New York mayor — with key details missing

The schedule also excludes details about his trips abroad and his famous late nights on the town.

The administration released a daily schedule covering the period July 2022 to August 2023 in accordance with a Freedom of Information Act request — the first such disclosure in 15 months.

The 426 pages covering this period, which are more detailed than the daily public programs that Adams’ team publishes each evening, mark a step backwards in transparency. For much of his predecessor’s tenure, former Mayor Bill de Blasio regularly released copies of his schedule that named everyone participating in calls and meetings, while also requiring that top city officials disclose their interactions with lobbyists.

Adams’ schedules often include the subject of staff meetings, unlike those of his predecessor. But he stopped disclosure of De Blasio’s lobbying because, as his aides have previously said, it is not legally required. His team also pointed to the former mayor’s departure during the Covid era to justify removing the mandate.

Adams’ diaries record almost no meetings with lobbyists. Even so, a public database maintained by the city clerk shows municipal lobbyists calling on the mayor’s office — which includes other top aides — hundreds of times on issues ranging from real estate plans to municipal contracts since the start of the Adams’ term begins on January 1, 2022. His spokesperson declined to answer whether the mayor had ever met with a lobbyist, instead sending a copy of a POLITICO article published in March 2022 announcing the disbandment of the practice.

“Like almost every major office in the U.S. government, we publish the mayor’s agenda every day, and our legal team responds to public records requests as quickly as possible,” Deputy Mayor Fabien Levy said in a statement. “While these practices simply continue those of the previous administration that we inherited when we took office, Mayor Adams is perhaps the most visible mayor New York City has ever had – and any journalist stands asking what the mayor is doing can attend one of our many public events. and ask.” (The mayor is only available one day a week to answer questions from journalists on topics of their choice.)

Unlike de Blasio, who publicly antagonized New York’s business elites, Adams made a point of courting the city’s wealthy class and recognizing their contribution to the tax base.

The schedules reveal regular visits with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a multibillionaire whom Adams cited as a close confidant, among his meetings with titans of finance and business. He dined at hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman’s $91.5 million penthouse in November 2022 and met Mellody Hobson, chairwoman of Starbucks’ board, in April this year.

The schedules also show Adams spending unstructured time in the evenings — when he is known to frequent fancy restaurants like Midtown’s Osteria La Baia and Casa Cipriani. (Levy said City Hall does not include the mayor’s personal time in its calendar.)

Amid his busy schedule, Adams has barely met with City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, whose legislature has become a growing critic of the administration. He set aside time for periodic interactions with Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders in Albany, who have far more influence over his agenda than the Council leader. He also made several trips to the nation’s capital to call for more resources to deal with the city’s asylum seeker crisis.

“Ten trips to Washington, D.C., and it’s like there’s no real plan,” Adams said in a television interview Wednesday night. “Senator Schumer and Congressman Jeffries are fighting to get Congress to pass a plan to allocate funds to the war in Ukraine and what is happening in the Middle East. But we need a real package for the southern border and the cities currently affected.”

It casts a darker light on his foreign travels.

Last December, Adams traveled to a conference on anti-Semitism in Athens, Greece, before traveling to Qatar to watch a World Cup match. At the time, he described his excursion to the Middle Eastern country as necessary to observe how officials were handling the logistics of the match since New Jersey will host the international event in 2026 and New York expects accordingly to an increase in tourism.

Details about the people the mayor met during this trip were rare at the time. And registrations for these days were almost empty on the schedules published Wednesday.

When asked why the Qatar stay was much 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 software planning the city during his trip to the Middle East.

The programs showed several events with Turkish organizations — notable given federal prosecutors’ ongoing investigation into potential collusion between Adams’ 2021 campaign and the Turkish government.

On October 21, 2022, a Turkish real estate group was scheduled to hold a conference at City Hall. A few days later, the GYODER organization hosted two of Adams’ top aides in Istanbul, where they spoke at a conference. Adams himself delivered virtual remarks.

On January 17, 2023, Adams spoke at the Anatolian Lions Businessmen’s Association summit at the Turkevi Center, the building developed by the Turkish government that would play a role in the federal investigation.

And on December 5, 2022, the mayor’s calendar certainly indicated that it was World Turkish Coffee Day.

City Hall also released timelines covering the start of the administration through February 2023 for Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks. Amid meetings and calls with NYPD officials and FDNY leadership, Banks also met with several figures connected to Adams’ political operations and law enforcement investigations into the 2021 mayoral campaign.

On February 10, 2022, Banks met with Brianna Suggs, the mayor’s 25-year-old top political fundraiser, whose home was raided last month by the FBI as part of the federal investigation.

Adams and his team have maintained that the campaign followed all the rules and that 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 to the mayor’s 2021 campaign.

An Adams campaign spokesperson had said the mayor and Montgomery knew each other through their concurrent careers with the New York Police Department. The spokesperson said many former law enforcement officials have raised money for the 2021 mayoral bid.

A few days later, Banks met with Al Cockfield, a reverend who created a PAC intended to support Adams’ political allies.

Levy declined to answer questions about the bank meetings.

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