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How Eric Adams, Mayoral Candidate, Mixed Money and Political Ambition


In interviews, several figures in the real estate industry said contributions to Mr. Adams’s campaign were not simply transactional but reflective of his overall support.

Whatever the precise dynamic, Mr. Adams had amassed at least $937,000 from developers, property managers, architects, contractors and others as of his campaign filing in March. That represented more than a third of his total private contributions, excluding public matching funds, an analysis shows, and included money from developers of luxury buildings in gentrifying neighborhoods.

(In order to qualify for public matching funds, Mr. Adams’s campaign has returned more than $300,000 of that real estate industry money because it exceeded the program’s contribution limits.)

Among the early backers of Mr. Adams’s mayoral bid was Mr. Schwartz, the Slate group co-founder.

On May 25, 2018, a Slate affiliate filed a city land-use application to build a 40-story tower on a wedge-shaped plot in Downtown Brooklyn zoned for roughly 24 stories. Mr. Adams would have to issue an advisory opinion on the proposed zoning change.

Three weeks after the filing, on the evening of June 13, Mr. Schwartz hosted the fund-raiser for Mr. Adams at his East 29th Street offices. According to people who attended, Mr. Schwartz organized the event and personally invited guests.

Mr. Schwartz, who was on the city’s doing-business list, distanced himself and Slate from the event. He did not personally contribute; he had last given Mr. Adams’s campaign $320 in 2015. And he sent the invitation in the name of a management company that operates in the same offices as Slate. The invitation — in blue, yellow and white, with an “Eric Adams 2021” logo — suggested contributions ranging from $300 for a “friend” to $1,000 for a “sponsor.”

Several of Mr. Schwartz’s vendors donated: a demolition contractor gave $2,000, a real estate lawyer $2,500 and an appliance vendor $5,000.


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