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Eric Adams

The $6,000 Cocktail Party Mayor Adams Hosted at Zero Bond

Knicks vets were on hand for the party, which was part of NYC's push to bring the DNC to town.

1:50 PM EST on December 19, 2023

Mayor-elect Eric Adams laughs at his Zero Bond election night party in 2021

Mayor Elect Eric Adams at his celebration party at Zero Bond on November 02, 2021, with Zero Bond owner Scott Sartiano at left (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Haute Living)

This week Hell Gate launched The Eric Adams Table of Success, and we're highlighting some of the reporting we did for it. For more on Zero Bond and the mayor's nightlife activities, head over to the table.

Last August, Mayor Eric Adams lit into the New York Times for publishing a front-page story about his penchant for staying out late in restaurants and private, members-only nightclubs.

"The stories that they're writing about me—I know people write stories, you get a lot of clicks when Eric Adams's name is in it. But the front page of the New York Times talked about me going to restaurants?" Adams told a group of reporters. "I pay every bill. Not the City. I pay every bill."

But just a month before he made those comments, Adams had partied at Zero Bond with former New York Knicks stars, and a City-funded entity picked up the $6,098 tab, according to documents obtained by Hell Gate. 

The previously unreported event was part of the City's unsuccessful effort to sway members of the Democratic National Committee to choose New York as the site of the 2024 DNC. 

On Wednesday, July 20, 2022, the owner of Zero Bond, Scott Sartiano, began emailing with the mayor's deputy chief of staff and officials at Madison Square Garden, the venue that would host the DNC if it came to New York. Sartiano wrote that Zero Bond was throwing a cocktail party for the selection committee the following night with the mayor, and was writing to see if MSG could entice any famous people to show up. "If there are any celebs or past or present Knicks or Rangers we could get there it would be great," Sartiano wrote in one email. "This will be a small event and will be hosted by Mayor Adams," he added in another.

A flurry of polite emailing followed, and Sartiano came up with a pitch for the celebs on MSG's roster that ultimately had to be approved by the boss. "JD Good with this," MSG's chief of staff, Kerry Lynch, wrote, presumably referring to James Dolan who owns MSG, the Knicks, the Rangers, and yes, the Las Vegas Sphere

But with such little notice, celebs were seemingly in short supply.

"John Starks is confirmed, Allan Houston is TBD, but I know he was just with the delegation earlier today," wrote MSG's director of celebrity relations. "Unfortunately, Charles Smith had to cancel due to a last-minute scheduling change."

The event started around 9:45 p.m., featured finger foods and some $3,600 in booze. "Everyone was happy," Sartiano wrote on the email chain. Later, he sent an invoice to Adams's then-chief of staff, Frank Carone, for $6,098.37. Carone passed it along to an employee of NYC Tourism + Conventions, the City's official tourism arm that receives tens of millions in taxpayer funding, for payment. It's not clear if Adams was involved in spending money on other events to woo members of the DNC selection committee.

After this story was published, mayoral spokesperson Charles Kretchmer Lutvak wrote in an email that "No city dollars were spent." When we asked whose dollars funded the party, Lutvak replied, "Feel free to ask NYC Tourism to explain their structure, but as I said, no city dollars," an apparent reference to the fact that NYC Tourism + Conventions is a private entity that receives City funding.

"Yes we do have funding from the City, yes, no City funds were used, because we are a membership organization," Tiffany Townsend, EVP of NYC Tourism said in a phone call.

A spokesperson for Zero Bond hasn't responded to our request for comment.

Hell Gate learned of the cocktail party from a set of emails we received from City Hall in our quest to obtain documents from the Mayor's Office that might shed light on Adams's relationship with Sartiano.

Last year, we reported that the first veto issued by Mayor Adams in early 2022, which eliminated the mechanism that would have forced the owners of artist lofts in SoHo and NoHo to pay a conversion fee, ended up benefiting Sartiano. In the spring of 2022, Sartiano and his wife bought a $3.45 million artist loft in NoHo, and could have owed tens of thousands of dollars in fines if the law remained on the books, plus another $100 per square foot that the couple would have had to pay into a fund for downtown artists. (Mayoral spokesperson said the two never talked about the bill or the veto.)

Adams, who is not a member of Zero Bond, where dues and initiation fees would cost him nearly $10,000, also appointed Sartiano to the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hell Gate filed a request under the state's Freedom of Information Law for communications between Adams and Sartiano; the Mayor's Office delayed for a year, so we sued. In mid-November, the Mayor's Office released a set of emails that included the exchange about the cocktail party, and also Sartiano's resume, which he sent to the Mayor's Office for consideration to be named to the Met board.

"To whom it may concernRecipient Name," [sic] Sartiano writes. "I am writing to express my interest in becoming Mayor Eric Adam's [sic] appointee to the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art."

(Hell Gate)

The documents given to us do not include any text messages between the mayor and Sartiano, which we asked for, and it's unclear whether the administration searched the mayor's phones for them, so our lawsuit will proceed.

You can read all the documents Hell Gate received from the Mayor's Office regarding our FOIL request over at the Table of Success.

This story has been updated with a comment from a mayoral spokesperson and a spokesperson for NYC Tourism + Conventions.

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