A Brief Guide to the Growing Eric Adams Donor Scandal

by TexasDigitalMagazine.com

Photo: Pacific Press/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Ge

On Wednesday, The City reported that several donors to Mayor Eric Adams’s reelection campaign said they had their contributions reimbursed, an action that likely runs afoul of campaign-finance law.

This is only the latest instance of questions being raised about potential straw donors contributing to the mayor’s campaigns. Last year, the Manhattan district attorney indicted six men in connection with a straw-donor scheme related to Adams’s 2021 mayoral campaign, and a federal inquiry is currently ongoing into whether that campaign received illegal donations from the Turkish government. Adams himself hasn’t been implicated in any of the investigations. Here’s what we know.

A joint investigation from The City, the watchdog Documented, and Guardian U.S. found that three donors who contributed to Adams’s 2025 reelection campaign later had their donations reimbursed. One donor, Sunny Yau, who works for SB HVAC Services Corp., told the publications that he and his wife were each reimbursed by his boss for a $2,098 donation they both made the previous year. According to records, the company is helmed by CEO Hung Yau, who also donated to Adams. The City’s findings didn’t stop there:

An architect assistant from Long Island said that she and her husband were reimbursed by one of the owners of the Fresh Meadows hotel, Xiaozhuang Ge, for the $2,000 donations each made to Adams. A nurse from Bayside, Queens, said that a woman named Lan Mei, a relative and business associate of Ge’s wife, Weihong Hu, requested that his family donate $2,000 to Adams’ campaign and then reimbursed them in cash.

The hotel, the Wyndham Garden, received a city government contract during the de Blasio administration to operate as a shelter for formerly incarcerated people who were released during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Adams, the $3 million contract has been renewed twice.

In a statement to the outlets, Vito Pitta, a lawyer for Adams’s campaign, said that no one associated with it “has ever or would ever participate in or condone such behavior.”

Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, announced last July that his office had indicted six men for a scheme to utilize straw donors to illegally generate matching funds for Adams’s 2021 mayoral campaign. The men were Dwanye Montgomery, Shamsuddin Riza, Millicent Redick, Ronald Peek, Yahya Mushtaq, and Shahid Mushtaq. Montgomery is a former NYPD deputy inspector who was with the department during Adams’s time on the force.

According to the indictment, the men allegedly recruited straw donors, including friends and relatives, to make contributions to the campaign only to later reimburse them for the money. As part of this plot, they’re accused of falsifying contribution cards and purchasing multiple money orders to submit as a fraudulent donation. They were charged with conspiracy, attempted grand larceny, offering a false instrument for filing, and attempted offering a false instrument for filing.

In October, Yahya Mushtaq and Shahid Mushtaq, two brothers who owned the Queens construction company Ecosafety Consultants, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor conspiracy count. Per the Daily News, the Mushtaqs agreed to cooperate with the investigation in addition to each paying a $500 fine and completing 35 hours of community service.

Last November, the political world was stunned by news that federal agents had raided the home of Brianna Suggs, the top fundraiser for Adams’s 2021 mayoral campaign, seizing computers, phones, and papers. It would later be revealed that the search was part of a larger federal inquiry into whether the campaign conspired with the Turkish government to direct illegal donations to itself. The inquiry was also reportedly looking into the Brooklyn-based KSK Construction Group whose employees made several donations to Adams.

The investigation has highlighted Adams’s deep ties to Turkey and the city’s Turkish community. During a flag-raising ceremony for the country, Adams boasted that no other New York City mayor had visited Turkey as much as he had.

“And I’m probably the only mayor in the history of this city that has not only visited Turkey once, but I think I’m on my sixth or seventh visit to Turkey,” he said back in October.

Adams, who has not been officially implicated in the investigation, has said that he holds his campaign to “the highest ethical standards” and intends to fully cooperate with the inquiry. The mayor himself had his electronic devices temporarily seized by the FBI during a stop and later returned as part of the investigations.

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