NEW YORK (AP) — Federal agents on Thursday raided the home of a top fundraiser and longtime confidante to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who abruptly ditched a planned White House meeting and flew home from Washington.
Agents searched the Brooklyn home of Brianna Suggs, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. A spokesperson for the FBI confirmed that a court-authorized law enforcement action had been carried out at the address, but declined to comment further.
Vito Pitta, an attorney for the Adams campaign, said the mayor was not contacted as part of the inquiry. “The campaign has always held itself to the highest standards,” Pitta added. “The campaign will of course comply with any inquiries, as appropriate.”
Suggs, who did not respond to a request for comment, is a campaign consultant to Adams who raised money for his election effort and also lobbied his administration on behalf of a real estate client.
News of the raid came shortly after Adams abruptly canceled a string of planned meetings in Washington, D.C., including a morning sit-down with senior White House officials to discuss the migrant crisis. Early on Thursday, Adams had shared video of himself aboard a plane, touting the importance of the meetings. Less than two hours later, a spokesperson said he would be returning to New York to “deal with a matter,” without offering further details.
Several people, some wearing FBI windbreakers, were seen entering Suggs’ home. They made multiple trips into the house and removed at least one box, according to one of Suggs’ neighbors, Christopher Burwell.
Nicholas Biase, a spokesperson for the federal prosecutor’s office in Manhattan, declined to comment.
The meeting with senior White House staff — which included the mayors of Denver and Chicago — proceeded without Adams in attendance. A spokesperson for City Hall declined to comment on the cancellation, deferring comment on the raid to the Adams campaign.
Suggs, 25, has worked for Adams since 2017, when she joined his staff in the Brooklyn Borough president’s office as a teenager, reporting directly to her godmother, Ingrid Lewis-Martin, a longtime Adams ally who now serves as the mayor’s chief advisor.
When Adams, a Democrat, ran for mayor in 2021, Suggs served as a chief fundraiser and director of logistics, helping to organize events and solicit money from donors. Records show she has been paid more than $150,000 for her work on his previous campaign and his current reelection bid.
While collecting paychecks from the campaign in 2021, Suggs simultaneously started her own lobbying firm, Brianna Suggs & Associates Inc. Lobbying records list only one client, a real estate group seeking to take over a city-owned mall in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
Good government groups have previously cast scrutiny on her role as a mayoral fundraiser and a lobbyist for real estate clients with interests before the city.
At the time, a spokesperson for Suggs, Jordan Barowitz, defended her dual roles, which some campaign finance experts said did not violate any city laws.
Barowitz did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Suggs is the latest Adams associate — and one of several people involved in his fundraising activity — to face legal trouble in recent months. In July, six people were charged in a straw donor conspiracy scheme to divert tens of thousands of dollars to Adams’ campaign.
The former city buildings commissioner under Adams, Eric Ulrich, was also charged in September for using his position to dole out favors, including access to the mayor, in exchange for cash and other bribes. Ulrich and his six co-defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Adams has distanced himself from both cases, which were brought in state court and did not directly implicate his campaign or administration.
Balsamo reported from Washington, D.C.