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Eric Adams: The Billionaire Who Threw Me a Birthday Party and Made Illegal Donations to My Campaign? I Don’t Really Know Him

And more links for your Tuesday.

Mayor Eric Adams delivers remarks at the National Action Network’s Annual Convention kick off. (Ed Reed / Mayoral Photography Office)

On March 19, a day after the notorious Chinese billionaire Qin Hui pleaded guilty to making straw donations to a host of candidates for political office, including to Eric Adams's campaign, Adams admitted to knowing Qin, but claimed to not really know him all that well. 

"I know who he is. I've met him before," Adams said during his weekly presser, before adding, "He's one of those people who I've met while on the campaign trail: the thousands upon thousands of people that I interacted with from different walks of life in a very unique Eric Adams type of way, and he's one of them."

Subsequent reporting by the CITY found that links between Qin and Adams went a bit deeper than the mayor admitted—shortly after Adams took office, Qin's ex-wife Emma Liu (they divorced in 2021 but continued to share households) was appointed as a member of Adams's Asian Affairs Advisory Council, the brainchild of the embattled Adams aide Winnie Greco.

Well, as it turns out, it appears Adams knows Qin a whole lot better than he's admitted—because in 2020, Adams celebrated his 60th birthday at Qin and Liu's penthouse apartment, complete with a birthday cake adorned with his name that the couple ordered for the then-borough president. (It was also, apparently, Liu's birthday as well.)

(Facebook)

More on the joint birthday party, via the New York Daily News

Video obtained by The News from the 2020 Plaza party shows Adams chatting with other partygoers at Qin and Liu's penthouse roof deck moments before he cuts into a birthday cake shaped like a Cohiba cigar box.

Partygoers can then be heard screaming, "Happy birthday, Emma" and "Happy birthday, Eric."

"Look around the room folks. Look at the diversity in this room. We all have one thing in common. We love New York. They're about to mess it up, but we're going to show people what New Yorkers are made of," Adams can be seen saying in the video. "Happy birthday. Let’s make sure we take back our city."

Definitely sounds like Qin is just one of the "thousands upon thousands of people" that our mayor "interacted with from different walks of life in a very unique Eric Adams type of way"! 

In a statement to the Daily News, Adams's campaign compliance attorney Vito Pitta tried to downplay the birthday party. "When he was borough president, the mayor stopped by a birthday party for Ms. Liu. This was not a campaign event," he said. (Though if we're to take Pitta at his word—stopping by someone's birthday party sure seems like a sign that perhaps you are friends?) Pitta continued, "As the federal government made clear in its court filing, the Adams campaign had no knowledge of illegal activity by Mr. Qin—and any inference otherwise is reckless and false."

And now some links between friends:

  • Sleepy Donald!
  • REBNY is publicly saying they are unhappy with the housing compromise that's being negotiated as part of this year's state budget, despite it reportedly being a deal that's very good for landlords and real estate developers. The pro-housing development group Open New York hates it too, writing that "the version of good cause eviction in this budget is an administrative nightmare and will fail to protect millions of tenants across New York." Housing Justice 4 All released a factsheet breaking down its deficiencies. "Governor Hochul will falsely claim this budget helps tenants while they pass the weakest Good Cause in the country, with loopholes that render the law unenforceable," the tenant coalition notes. 
  • And despite an extension of mayoral control seeming dead, it is apparently now back on the table
  • Via the Intercept: "The New York Times instructed journalists covering Israel's war on the Gaza Strip to restrict the use of the terms 'genocide' and 'ethnic cleansing' and to 'avoid' using the phrase 'occupied territory' when describing Palestinian land, according to a copy of an internal memo obtained by the Intercept. The memo also instructs reporters not to use the word Palestine 'except in very rare cases' and to steer clear of the term 'refugee camps' to describe areas of Gaza historically settled by displaced Palestinians expelled from other parts of Palestine during previous Israeli–Arab wars."
  • Some jerks uprooted hundreds of trees from Kissena Park so they could ride dirt bikes. 
  • "It's a shameful day when our institutions can't do something so simple as fire officers who enter someone's home, who's cooking, minding his own business in a supportive housing facility."
  • Despite being ordered to do so, Con Sofrito, the Bronx club and restaurant owned by the ex-cop brother of NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban, has yet to tear down its illegal party room
  • Via the New York Times: "The New York Philharmonic said on Monday that two players it had tried to fire in 2018—but was forced to rehire after the musicians’ union challenged their dismissal—would not take part in rehearsals or performances for the time being after a magazine article detailed the allegations of misconduct that had been made against them." (Here's the New York Magazine article that the Times mentioned, and oh, by the way, those misconduct allegations are of sexual assault.)
  • "Behind the Badge: In New York City Homeless Shelters, the Same 'Peace Officers' Abuse Residents"
  • And finally, here's a fun detail from a profile of Olayemi Olurin, the activist who grilled Eric Adams on "The Breakfast Club" recently: "She and Adams exchanged numbers after the interview at Charlamagne's urging, and the mayor texted her a few hours later to ask about the origins of her name. She told him it's Nigerian and means 'affluence befits me,' to which he responded with a yellow-skin-toned prayer-hands emoji. She found the detail 'incredibly telling,' given that Adams 'uses his Blackness as a convenience to sell us on, but who has no real attachment to it or community.' 'I've never in my life seen a Black person not change the color of this emoji,' she says. 'That tickled me greatly. I laughed.'"
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