The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is conducting an investigation into campaign donations associated with Bay Atlantic University and the 2021 campaign of Eric Adams, following allegations of potential illegal fundraising activity. The donations in question were made less than two months before the 2021 general election and have raised concerns over whether foreign money was illegally funneled into Adams’ campaign.
Federal agents recently conducted a search at the residence of Brianna Suggs, a prominent fundraiser for both Adams’ 2021 campaign and his re-election campaign. The investigation is focusing on whether the Adams campaign conspired with Bay Atlantic University and a construction company owned by individuals of Turkish descent to accept illegal foreign contributions.
Eric Adams, who is the Mayor of New York City, expressed his outrage and anger over the allegations. He has maintained that he had no knowledge of any improper fundraising activities or the involvement of foreign funds in his campaign.
The five donations in question, each amounting to $2,000, were received from individuals listed as employees of Bay Atlantic University. These donations were subsequently refunded within 17 days, in accordance with federal law, which prohibits campaigns from accepting money from foreign nationals.
When asked why these donations were returned, Evan Thies, the spokesperson for Adams’ 2021 campaign, explained that the campaign had already raised more funds than it could spend. However, campaign records indicate that other contributions were accepted during the following weeks.
Despite repeated attempts to reach the contributors in question, none of them provided comments or explanations. Records indicate that none of these individuals are registered voters in New York, Maryland, or Washington, D.C.
New York City’s Campaign Finance Board had inquired twice in October 2021 about the bundling of these five refunded donations totaling $10,000, but the campaign did not provide a response to the regulators or to questions from media outlets.
Bay Atlantic University has been previously associated with allegations of dismissing students from a master’s program in 2016 for expressing critical views about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The school denied these allegations at the time, claiming that the students had failed English proficiency exams.
Notably, as Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams made trips to Turkey in 2015, during which he met with officials at Bahcesehir University, which is affiliated with Bay Atlantic University. During these trips, Adams was honored with an “honorary faculty member” title and awarded a scholarship in his name.
The investigation aims to uncover the details surrounding these campaign donations, their connection to Bay Atlantic University, and any potential violations of campaign finance laws. Mayor Adams has emphasized that he is fully cooperating with the investigation.
Adams, who has shown an ongoing interest in Turkish-American relations, has visited Turkey on multiple occasions, touting the importance of cultural exchange, transatlantic commerce, and global solidarity.
As the investigation continues, it may shed light on the intricacies of campaign financing and potential foreign influence in local politics.