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Mayor Adams Wishes Friend Who Pled Guilty to Illegally Helping His Campaign ‘The Best’

Retired NYPD officer Dwayne Montgomery will pay a $500 fine and do community service for his involvement in a straw donor scheme.

9:00 AM EST on February 6, 2024

The New York City skyline at night.
(Hell Gate)

On Monday, retired NYPD inspector Dwayne Montgomery, the ringleader of a straw donor scheme connected to Mayor Eric Adams's 2021 mayoral campaign pleaded guilty to one count of fifth-degree conspiracy in Manhattan Criminal Court. As a part of the plea deal, Montgomery won't serve prison time, provided he pays a $500 fine and completes 200 hours of community service with a nonprofit called BKLYN Combine. The mayor and his campaign still haven't been implicated in any wrongdoing.

Avid readers might remember Montgomery's involvement with this particular straw donor scheme landed him a spot at the Table of Success in December. Here's what we wrote about that, in case you need a refresher: 

According to the indictment, Montgomery, alongside alleged co-conspirators Shamsuddin Riza, Millicent Redick, Ronald Peek, Yahya Mushtaq, Shahid Mushtaq, and a company called Ecosafety Consultants Inc., recruited at least 29 straw donors to pledge a total of $6,400 in small donations to the Adams campaign, which would have netted the campaign around $50,000 in Campaign Finance Board money thanks to the City’s eight-to-one donation matching program. 

Montgomery allegedly purchased money orders and sent payments via CashApp and Zelle to the fraudulent donors, who then dumped those funds back into Adams campaign coffers. He also set up an August 2020 virtual fundraiser for the campaign with an unindicted campaign operative, later revealed to be Adams’s body person at the time, Rachel Atcheson (whom he later emailed a straw donor’s donation receipt, asking to be "credited for the contribution.") Atcheson has not been accused of wrongdoing; City Hall and the Adams campaign did not respond to a request for comment. Over the course of the scheme, Montgomery represented himself as someone with insight into what Adams wanted—or, at least, what he’d bother to show up for. In July 2021, the indictment notes that Montgomery told his alleged co-conspirator Riza on the phone that Adams "said he doesn’t want to do anything," fundraiser-wise, "if he doesn’t get 25 Gs."

Montgomery is the only defendant in the indictment attached to every single charge: conspiracy in the fifth degree, attempted grand larceny in the third degree, 19 counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, and six counts of attempted offering a false instrument in the first degree.

Adams, for his part, seems to have no hard feelings towards Montgomery. (Read more about their decades-long history at the Table of Success.) "It appears as though he made a decision that he's going to regret. I'm hoping that he goes on with his life…Everyone has days that I'm sure that they would like to take back," the mayor said after news of Montgomery's plea broke, according to the Daily News. He continued, magnanimously: "I have not communicated with him since this incident happened, and if I were to see him somewhere, I would say, 'Hey, Dwayne, how are you doing, I wish the best for you.'" Nice way to talk about an old friend with whom you still have mutuals—like fellow NYPD retirees Tim Pearson and Phil Banks.

The other alleged ringleader in this conspiracy, Shamsuddin Riza, has pleaded not guilty to charges similar to Montgomery's. But you could be forgiven for having forgotten about this particular Adams mayoral campaign finance scandal when there are a few others floating around, like the one connected to Turkish KSK Construction Company that reportedly compelled the feds to confiscate the mayor's phones and iPad, or the straw donor scheme connected to his 2025 mayoral campaign. It's all a little confusing—and adding to the confusion is the fact that as of this writing, the mayor remains able to access those sweet matching CFB funds that drew Montgomery (and, allegedly, others like him) to the campaign like a cartoon pie on a windowsill.

What would it take to shut off the spigot, John Liu-style, if not…all of this? The CFB did not respond to a request for comment, so it remains to be seen.

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