Tuesday, June 25

Brianna Suggs, Eric Adams’s Top Fund-Raiser, Is Out After F.B.I. Raid

Mayor Eric Adams of New York said on Tuesday that the 25-year-old woman he had chosen to manage his political fund-raising was no longer working in that role, weeks after a search of her home by the F.B.I. revealed a federal investigation into his campaign and plunged his administration into turmoil.

The announcement by Mr. Adams was something of a reversal: He had previously said he had “full confidence” in the fund-raiser, Brianna Suggs, adding that she was qualified for the job and that he would love for her to remain on his team.

At his weekly press briefing on Tuesday, Mr. Adams declined to explain the reasons for the change, saying as he often does that he would not discuss private conversations.

“She is no longer doing fund-raising for the campaign,” Mr. Adams said, in response to a question from a reporter.

A person close to the campaign said Ms. Suggs was transitioning to a new role in the apparatus. Mr. Adams’s campaign already has a big lead over potential challengers in fund-raising: It has collected more than $2.5 million in donations.

When news of the raid broke on Nov. 2, Mr. Adams abruptly left Washington, where he had traveled that morning for meetings with White House and congressional officials about a migrant crisis that he has said “will destroy New York City.”

He justified his return to New York in part by saying that he wanted to lend Ms. Suggs emotional support after a “traumatizing experience,” even as he said that he had not spoken with her on the day of the raid.

Ms. Suggs, who had been represented by the same law firm Mr. Adams had retained for himself and his campaign, recently hired a new lawyer for the investigation, Rebecca M. Ricigliano of the law firm Crowell & Moring, raising the possibility that her interests could be in conflict with the mayor’s. The development also suggests that the investigation, which at least in part is examining potential illegal foreign campaign contributions from the Turkish government, is moving to an advanced stage.

A spokeswoman for the firm confirmed in a statement that it had been retained to represent Ms. Suggs. “We look forward to continued cooperation with the government’s investigation, and her work in support of the mayor’s 2025 campaign,” the statement said.

Ms. Suggs is at least the second person in Mr. Adams’s orbit to face professional consequences as the federal investigation continues. Rana Abbasova, a prominent aide in the mayor’s international affairs office, was “immediately placed on leave” after City Hall learned she had “acted improperly,” a spokesman for the mayor said earlier this month.

The F.B.I.’s search of Ms. Suggs’s Brooklyn home was the first public sign of the investigation.

On that Thursday morning, agents hauled off her electronic devices, computers and folders related to the Adams campaign. According to a search warrant obtained by The New York Times, investigators sought records related to the campaign’s possible acceptance of illegal foreign donations from the Turkish government or Turkish nationals through intermediaries, known as straw donors.

A few days later, F.B.I. agents showed up to seize phones and other devices from Mr. Adams as he was leaving an evening event in Manhattan. Neither Mr. Adams nor Ms. Suggs have been accused of any wrongdoing. The mayor has repeatedly said that he is cooperating with the investigation and that he has always instructed his aides to adhere to the law.

The warrant to search Ms. Suggs’s home indicated investigators are focused on the role of a Brooklyn building company, KSK Construction Group, in a potential straw donor scheme. They also sought records relating to communications involving the Adams campaign and its members, the Turkish Consulate in New York, and a college in Washington, D.C., that is affiliated with a school Mr. Adams once visited in Turkey.

As part of the inquiry, the F.B.I. and federal prosecutors in Manhattan are examining whether the Turkish government conspired with Mr. Adams’s campaign to funnel foreign donations into campaign coffers, and whether Mr. Adams pressured Fire Department officials to sign off on a new high-rise Turkish consulate despite safety concerns.

On the same day Ms. Suggs’s home was searched, agents bearing warrants also visited the New Jersey homes of Ms. Abbasova and Cenk Öcal, a former Turkish Airlines executive who served on the mayor’s transition team.

Ms. Abbasova, who had served as Mr. Adams’s liaison to the Turkish and Azerbaijani communities in Brooklyn when he was borough president, also traveled with him to Turkey in 2015.

Ms. Suggs was an unusual choice to lead Mr. Adams’s fund-raising operation. She was just 23 when she managed fund-raising for his 2021 mayoral campaign, and she struck many people who dealt with her as obviously inexperienced.

But she also had deep ties to Mr. Adams, with whom she had worked since at least 2018, and with his top aide, Ingrid Lewis-Martin, who would refer to Ms. Suggs as her goddaughter.

After the raid on Ms. Suggs’s Brooklyn home, Mr. Adams suggested she would stay on as his fund-raising chief and defended his decision to have such a young person occupy such an important role.

“Often, young African American ladies don’t get the opportunities that others receive in this business of politics,” Mr. Adams said at the time.