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Flying First Class for Free on Turkish Airlines? That’s Eric Adams’s ‘Way of Flying’

The endless inquiry into Mayor Eric Adams now includes airline tickets, and other links to start your eclipse day.

Who doesn't love a free trip? For almost his entire time in public office, Eric Adams has enjoyed comped travel to places like China, Israel, Greece, Puerto Rico, and many other places. But perhaps his most favored destination? Turkey. 

Adams has said he has traveled there "six or seven times," with the first visit coming in 2015, when he was Brooklyn Borough President. Then he went again just four months later to attend a conference to speak about "city marketing." Adams flew Turkish Airlines, essentially becoming an unpaid spokesperson for the state-owned (and to be honest, quite luxurious) airline. In 2017, he told a Turkish publication that Turkish Airlines was his "way of flying."

According to the Times' sources, Adams received free flight upgrades worth thousands of dollars on these trips, allowing him to fly business class overseas. Now, federal investigators are looking into whether these upgrades were part of a bigger scheme that involved the Adams mayoral campaign accepting money from the Turkish government.

Notably, the Times said that these trips where Adams received upgrades to travel on Turkish Airlines' highest class, which generally costs $3,400 per ticket, occurred on official and personal trips the mayor took while he was BP and mayor. His trip to Turkey since becoming mayor in 2022 hadn't been previously reported.

In a statement to the Times, the mayor's personal attorney, Brendan McGuire, did not deny that Adams received the upgrades.

"As borough president, the mayor consistently disclosed his official travel to Turkey, did not receive any improper upgrades and did nothing inappropriate in exchange for an upgrade," McGuire said. "Speculation is not evidence. We look forward to a just and timely conclusion to this investigation."

Last week, the Daily News reported that Adam's legal defense team began working on behalf of the mayor on the day that those homes were raided. So far, McGuire who had worked for Adams as the city's top lawyer at City Hall before dipping out after less than two years, has logged the most hours for Adams working on his defense, racking up $142,000 in billable hours for the law firm Wilmer Hale. (Those lawyers are paid for by a legal defense fund that accepted illegal donations, until Hell Gate pointed them out.)

So where does this leave the federal investigation into Adams, which began its public phase over five months ago? The leaks coming from federal prosecutors seem very much focused on the mayor's relationship to Turkey, and they appear to be zeroing in on some charges for both illegal fundraising and unreported gifts. As the Times reporting consistently points out, this is just part of a larger investigation, and seemingly unrelated to a recent raid of another mayoral aide, by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn. Whether there are any indictments, or resolution, anytime soon is anyone's guess, as the drip drip drip of corruption allegations continues from the Southern District of New York. 

Some links to stare directly at:

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