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Mayor Adams May Have a Snitchuation

Rana Abbasova, Mayor Eric Adams's liaison to the Turkish community, is reportedly cooperating with the federal corruption investigation into his 2021 campaign.

Eric Adams raises a flag.

Mayor Eric Adams delivers remarks at a flag-raising ceremony for Turkey. Bowling Green Park, Manhattan. Friday, October 27, 2023. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

Suspended City Hall aide Rana Abbasova, a member of the Mayor's Office for International Affairs who was placed on leave after Eric Adams's lawyers flagged her to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for acting "improperly," is apparently talking. According to a report by the New York Times, Abbasova "has turned against [Adams] and is cooperating with the corruption investigation into Mr. Adams and his 2021 campaign" after her Fort Lee, New Jersey home was raided by FBI agents back in November. 

Abbasova's lawyer declined to speak with the Times about what exactly she's telling federal agents, but one of Adams's lawyers (and the mayor's former chief council) Brendan McGuire told the paper that "it is our understanding that Ms. Abbasova has been talking to investigators since her improper conduct was reported by the administration in November." That improper conduct? Something to do with Abbasova's contact with Turkey. As her home was being raided by the FBI, Abbasova reportedly asked other City Hall staffers to delete text messages (which, to be fair, is probably what we'd do, too).

Abbasova—who still hasn't been accused of wrongdoing by the FBI— was notably the only person who City Hall flagged to the feds back in November for apparent wrongdoing. As the campaign corruption investigation launched with a raid of Abbasova's home and the home of former chief fundraiser for Adams's 2021 mayoral campaign, 26-year-old Brianna Suggs, reports emerged linking Abbasova to potential illegal foreign donations to Adams's mayoral campaign from the Turkish government, in exchange for favors like allegedly lax FDNY inspections for Turkish construction companies. 

Abbasova traveled to Turkey with Mayor Adams in 2015 as a volunteer in his Brooklyn Borough President's Office. She also set up multiple meetings and events that involved Adams (in his capacity as Brooklyn borough president and mayor) and Turkish government officials and business executives, like former New York manager of Turkish Airlines Cenk Öcal, who served on the mayor's transition team—and whose Fort Lee home was raided at the same time as Abbasova's. (Another facet of the federal investigation is whether Abbasova helped arrange flight upgrades for Adams on his multiple trips to Turkey.)

The ongoing federal investigation is also digging into donations from employees at Bay Atlantic University, a Washington, D.C. college founded by Turkish entrepreneur Enver Yücel, who met with Adams multiple times—in Brooklyn and in Turkey—who backed funding for a charter school where Abbasova was proposed as a board member back in 2015.

If this rabbit hole of deleted texts, FBI raids, international travel, and construction intrigue sounds familiar, that might be because we've already written about Abbasova in the Table of Success, one of a handful of individuals who's followed Adams throughout his political career, only to find themselves wrapped up in one of the multiple corruption investigations into his campaigns. Because of news like this, we're currently working on updating the Table of Success—we always imagined it as a living document, and boy, is it live—over the next few weeks, so watch this space like federal investigators are watching Abbasova's lips move.

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