New York Mayor Eric Adams Sparks Nepotism Claims Amid Criticism
In SummaryNew York City mayor Eric Adams is sparking claims of nepotism and a potential political scandal with the appointments of his brother and a formerly resigned police chief to his growing team.
Mayor Eric Adams was a popular choice among New York City voters, but his reign appears to be off to a shaky start, with comments about “low-skilled workers” in the profession and the appointments of both his brother and a former police chief.
The Guardian reported with the appointment of his brother, Bernard Adams, to deputy police commissioner—a job that pays $240,000 per year—Adams stirred accusations of nepotism. Bernard, a retired NYPD officer, most recently worked at Virginia Commonwealth University’s medical campus as assistant director of operations for parking and transportation.
While the conflict-of-interest board in the city has the last say, Adams made it clear on CNN that his brother is qualified for the job.
“My brother is qualified for the position,” he said, per The Guardian. “Number one, he will be in charge of my security, which is extremely important to me in a time when we see an increase in white supremacy and hate crimes. I have to take my security in a very serious way.”
He went on to say Bernard has a background in community affairs and he needs someone he can trust around him, adding “and I trust my brother deeply.”
Philip Banks III was Adams’ choice for a high-ranking public-safety position. The former New York Police Department chief resigned in 2014 after being accused as an unindicted co-conspirator in an FBI corruption probe.
Banks wrote a tell-all in the New York Daily News to clear his name amid mounting criticism, claiming he was never charged with any crime as part of the corruption inquiry that led to the convictions of Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg. He also denied that he had “unexplained income in my bank accounts” and quit the NYPD to avoid facing a departmental trial over the inquiry.
“Despite the fact that I never broke the law, nor did I ever betray the public trust by abusing my authority as an NYPD official, I do also want to offer an apology to the people of New York,” he said. “… I hope that from here on, I can serve the people of New York excellently to prove my commitment to them.”
Keechant Sewell, the chief of detectives in Nassau County, made history when Adams appointed her as the first woman commissioner of the New York City Police Department.
Sewell has since clashed with the Manhattan district attorney over proposed criminal justice reform, saying statutes aimed at decriminalizing minor crimes raise concerns about the implications for police officer and public safety, as well as victim justice.
Adams, a Democrat, defeated Curtis Sliwa, a Republican, with 72.8% of the votes to become New York City’s second Black mayor after David Dinkins. He was sworn into office shortly after the ball dropped in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.