A nonprofit fundraising division that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams formed to advance his summer concert series and other personally favorite projects is being investigated by both the federal government and New York City’s Department of Investigation for alleged impropriety.
Federal investigators are thoroughly examining the fundraising activities of Adams’ One Brooklyn Fund Inc., seeking to discover if it’s being used to hand out pay-to-play favors to donors, according to several sources who spoke to the New York Post.
One source claimed the investigation is “similar” to a more expansive probe Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara is presently conducting into Mayor de Blasio’s now-defunct nonprofit Campaign for One New York. And, like de Blasio’s disbanded fund, One Brooklyn has solicited cash from entities that are being reviewed by law enforcement and who have business interests before the city.
Adams’ office has complied with investigators’ requests and submitted many of One Brooklyn’s financial and other records to assist the federal and DOI investigations.
The DOI is trying to determine whether Adams violated any city laws by regularly asking outside groups to write checks directly to his nonprofit to rent space at Borough Hall, instead of making payments directly to the city, sources said.
“I have to say I found it very strange that I was asked to write my check out to One Brooklyn – and not the city,” commented the head of a Brooklyn nonprofit who rented space. “It just didn’t feel right.”
Since its establishment two years ago, One Brooklyn claims it collected a total of $315,000 to $860,000 in donations. It has also acquired another $344,000 in discretionary funding from the City Council. These funds are used to help sponsor concerts, senior events and other public programs that serve as promotional vehicles for Adams, who has voiced interest in running for mayor after de Blasio leaves office.
The Department of Citywide Administrative Services is tasked with managing all city buildings and overseeing renting space. DCAS’s website states that the fee for renting Brooklyn Borough Hall is $9,700 for all for-profit groups and a much-reduced fee of $6,600 for nonprofits.
However, DCAS spokeswoman Cathy Hanson said there has been an “informal policy” for the past several decades permitting sitting Brooklyn borough presidents to oversee outside events held at Borough Hall. Since he became Brooklyn Borough President in 2014, Adams has permitted hundreds of organizations to utilize the building for events, and he charges them fees at his discretion, sometimes waiving them.
One donor – Park Developers & Builders, who gave at least $5,000 – was subpoenaed by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office a number of months ago for its bid to demolish a Bedford-Stuyvesant nursing home and replace it with a 241-unit residential building.
Park Developers’ partner, the Allure Group, was similarly subpoenaed in that case -— as well as in a Lower East Side real-estate transaction that involved the disbanding of a nursing home – an action that was controversially approved by the de Blasio administration.