Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Another New York mayor’s aide’s residence is raided by the FBI

By b0oua Mar 1, 2024
News

In the early hours of Thursday morning, local television station News 12 claimed that FBI investigators conducted a search warrant at the residence of a key political adviser to Mayor Eric Adams.

However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not provide a response to queries regarding the raid that was conducted by scores of agents on the residence of Councilwoman Winnie Greco in the Bronx. Typically, the FBI does not speak publicly about investigations that are currently underway.

During the month of November, the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a raid on the residence of Mr. Adams’ 2021 campaign fundraiser and seized the electronic devices belonging to the mayor.

According to the New York Times, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently conducting a criminal investigation into charges that the campaign team for Mr. Adams were involved in a conspiracy with a construction company in Brooklyn and the Turkish government in order to obtain illicit street donations.

It is unclear whether Ms. Greco has a legal representative, and it was not possible to get in touch with her for a response. It has been reported by the municipality that she has been absent from work since Thursday.

While she has been volunteering for a considerable amount of time, she has also worked with the mayor. In the past, she has been responsible for organizing fundraising campaigns, and at the present time, she is the advisor to the mayor on Asian matters.

In a statement that was issued, the spokesman for the mayor reaffirmed the claims that were made earlier, stating that Mr. Adams had not been charged with any crime. In connection with the fundraising event for the mayoral race, no one has been charged before the federal government.

“Our administration will always respect the law and we expect all our employees to adhere to the strictest ethical guidelines ,” according to the press release. “As we have stated before, we do not comment on matters that are under review, but we will fully cooperate with any ongoing process.”

The FBI reportedly conducted searches on two additional locations on Thursday, one of which was a second residence that belonged to Ms. Greco, according to the New York Times, which cited authorities who wished to remain anonymous.

Early on Thursday morning, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a search warrant at two residences in the Bronx that belonged to a high-ranking adviser to Mayor Eric Adams. Additionally, they searched the offices of a shopping mall in Queens that served as a location for Adams’ campaign activities.

AT an earlier time, THE CITY discovered substantial evidence of potentially unlawful gifts of straw that were connected to the shopping center.

Winnie Greco, Adams’ director of Asian affairs, was the assistant who was heavily involved in eight different fundraising events that took place at the New World Mall. These events brought in tens of thousands of dollars for Adams’ campaign for mayor in 2021.

It was reported on Thursday by the press office of the Mayor that she is currently on leave from her employment. It is the third time in the previous four months that federal agents have conducted a search warrant at the residence of Greco, who is affiliated with Adams. Both Rana Abbasova, an assistant in Adams’ international affairs office, and Brianna Suggs, who was Adams’ chief fundraiser at the time, had their houses searched by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in November.

A New World Mall employee shared with THE CITY that her employers requested that she make a payment of $249, and that she was subsequently compensated for her contribution. This would be considered a “straw” donation, which is a criminal offense that has already resulted in the prosecution of one group of Adams fundraisers by the Manhattan District Attorney, as well as a separate inquiry by the United States Attorney’s office into another group of donors who had connections to the Turkish government.

While speaking with THE CITY, another employee of New World Mall stated that she had never written a check to the campaign and that she was unable to identify the signature on the check. According to the statements submitted by over twenty dozen additional donors, they made their gifts either at the request of mall officials or with their encouragement.

FBI agents, working in collaboration with the Brooklyn United States Attorney’s office, began the Bronx raids at approximately six in the morning. They swooped down on two residences owned by Greco on Gillespie Avenue and sealed off intersections so that they could conduct their investigation. The huge New World Mall in Flushing was the location of a third raid, according to the FBI, which later confirmed this information to THE CITY.

According to a neighbor who informed THE CITY that more than a dozen FBI agents were there on Gillespie Avenue and prepared to enter the residence, the neighbor declined to reveal his name. According to what he stated, “They had every intersection and every block closed off altogether.” “It was frozen for a short period of time. At no point was anyone let to leave.

On Thursday, a spokeswoman for Adams issued a statement regarding the raid, which read as follows: “Our administration will always follow the law, and we always expect all of our employees to adhere to the strictest ethical guidelines.” As we have stated on multiple occasions, we do not comment on things that are currently being investigated, but we will cooperate fully with any investigation that is currently being conducted. There have been no allegations of impropriety leveled against the mayor.

As a result of another article published by THE CITY that detailed charges of unethical behavior against Greco, the Department of Investigation of the city is already conducting an investigation against her. Greco is paid $100,000 annually for her position at City Hall. In an interview with THE CITY, a business executive made the allegation that Greco demanded a gift of $10,000 for a charitable organization that she had established as a prerequisite for attending an event at Gracie Mansion that Adams was hosting to celebrate the Chinese community. With Greco’s assistance, a former Adams campaign volunteer was able to secure a position with the city government. This individual informed THE CITY that Greco insisted that he monitor improvements at one of her homes without receiving payment.

Greco, who has been a longtime advisor to Adams ever since he began his tenure as Brooklyn borough president ten years ago, has been instrumental in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Adams’s previous and present mayoral campaigns on multiple occasions. Greco was once referred to as her “baby sister” by Ingrid Lewis-Martin, who served as Adams’ most trusted confidant and the most senior political counselor in City Hall.

Adams stated that he had a “hands-off policy when things are being reviewed” in response to a question concerning Greco that was posed by THE CITY in November. Greco continued to make appearances alongside him at a number of public events, such as watching the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve and attending an event centered on women later in the month of January.

On the other hand, Greco was noticeably absent from Adams’ most recent Lunar New Year celebrations, or he played a role that was significantly less significant than normal.

Greco began his career as a volunteer in the office of the Brooklyn Borough President under the leadership of Marty Markowitz in the late 2000s. After Adams was elected, he continued to serve as an unpaid Asian community “ambassador” for the borough president, becoming a prolific fundraiser for Adams’s campaigns and interests.

Shortly after Adams was inaugurated as president in January 2022, she began working for the administration of Adams in a paid capacity.

Even though Greco did not get any payment from Adams’ 2021 or 2025 campaigns and did not play any formal role, according to a spokesperson for the campaign, she has been a significant contributor to Adams’ fundraising efforts over the course of the past decade.

During the course of the campaign, Greco spent many months working from a campaign office located within the New World Mall. This was the location where Adams hosted nearly a dozen fundraising events. A cluster of $249 gifts to Adams were discovered by THE CITY in the previous year. These donations came from dozens of low-wage mall employees. The cashiers, salesmen, and retirees of mall shops contributed a total of $28,739 to Eric Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign. The eight-to-one match resulted in an additional $178,144 in potential public matching money for the campaign.

In addition, the city discovered a second group of suspicious gifts that originated from a fundraising event that was held in October 2019 and was arranged by Greco in collaboration with AC & Appliances Center, an appliance chain situated in New York City. Through dozens of gifts of $250 each, the gathering was able to raise $32,400. Money orders, which are a method of payment that is rather difficult to track down, were responsible for nine of the gifts. It was reported by a donor that two of the money orders were forged in his and his father’s names, with the father’s vocation being described as “housewife.”

Steven Wong, a prominent member of the Chinese community and a committee member of Friends of Chinese Americans Endorse Eric Adams, recently stated that he would wait for the results of the investigation being conducted by the FBI. He also noted that it was a typical procedure for the FBI to pursue leads that they had received.

It is heartening to see a large number of people from our Chinese community participating in political activities; nevertheless, it is disheartening to observe that these individuals are not actually serving the people. Wong stated that there is nothing that can be done for Greco in the event that she committed any criminal acts. Maintaining compliance with the law and contributing to the betterment of society is the authentic way for us to integrate into the American culture.

Greco established a nonprofit organization in 2012 with the intention of bringing a commemorative archway to Sunset Park in Brooklyn, which is connected to Beijing as a sister city. The organization reported to the Internal Revenue Service that it had raised a total of $221,000 prior to the IRS revoking its status as a nonprofit organization because the group stopped filing financial statements.

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By b0oua

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