Front runner as 'New Marty' not publicly implicated in scandal
On Wednesday morning, state Senator Eric Adams was widely viewed as the inevitable successor to retiring Borough President Marty Markowitz. Later in the day, while Adams remained the perceived front-runner, observers suggested that his march to Borough Hall might no longer be a cakewalk.
Adams was among New York State state Democrats — seven of them elected officials — named in a Federal court filing made public on Wednesday as having been secretly wiretapped by convicted bribe-taking state senator-turned-government informant Shirley Huntley. Federal prosecutors said that eight of the nine were under investigation, but a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn told the Associated Press he could not reveal which one of the nine was not.
As Adams left his Bedford Stuyvesant apartment on Wednesday, he told a New York Post reporter, "I have no comment, I have nothing to say."
"Call my office, just call my office," Adams said as he entered a blue BMW 328 convertible, the Post reported.
A staffer in Adams' Crown Heights office told DNAinfo that the senator was in Albany.
Later, Adams said in a statement, “I have not been contacted about any investigation."
"I believe deeply in transparency and the pursuit of justice — and that is why I committed 20 years of my life to law enforcement," Adams said. "I am more than willing to help with any investigation." Adams, a former NYPD captain, was a founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care.
The list of nine Democrats was ordered released by Federal Judge Jack Weinstein over the objection of prosecutors. Weinstein is expected to sentence Huntley on Thursday.
"It is far too soon to pass judgment," a spokesman for Markowitz told DNAinfo when asked about the inclusion of Adams on the Huntley list. "In America you are innocent until proven guilty."
"This whole thing is very disappointing and shocking," political consultant Lupe Todd told DNAinfo. "I don't know what to say in relation to the borough president’s race — everybody has to digest it all first."
"It will definitely give others an opportunity to get in the race," said political consultant E. O'Brien Murray, who engineered the surprise election to Congress from Brooklyn of Republican Bob Turner.
"Any political opponent looks for an opening and this could very well be one," Murray told the Daily News. "Campaigns are challenged enough without a cloud hanging over."
A News report that Fort Greene councilwoman Letita James might enter the borough president's race was buttressed by her repeated statement of "no comment" to a reporter.
A James statement Wednesday night dampened speculation, however.
"I am absolutely running for public advocate," she said. "Rumors to the contrary are unfounded."
Huntley's recordings have already led to the indictment of one-time political powerhouse state Sen. John Sampson of Brooklyn and Sen. Marlcolm Smith of Queens.
No integrated scheme was apparent among the nine individuals whose names were released on Wednesday, the Albany Times-Union reported.
Updated to include AP report that the U.S. attorney's office would not disclose which one of the nine named Democrats was not under investigation, replacing a NY Times citation that six of the seven elected officials were the subjects of criminal investigations.