New York City

Cuomo names Kenneth Adams as tax commissioner

Gatling, Hynes-era ADA, Also Gets New Post

January 12, 2015 By Raanan Geberer Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Kenneth Adams, veteran government and business administrator with Brooklyn roots. Eagle file photo by John Calabrese
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday named Kenneth Adams, veteran business and economic development administrator from Brooklyn, as the commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Adams’ appointment was announced as part of a large group of appointments that also included Patricia Gatling, former first assistant district attorney for Kings County, who will become Cuomo’s deputy secretary for civil rights.

While Adams has held a half-dozen leadership positions over the years, in Brooklyn he is perhaps best known for his tenure as president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce during the early and mid-2000s.

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Adams grew up in Brooklyn, the son of lawyer and community activist Murray Adams, who served as former president of the Cobble Hill Association. Murray Adams was well known in his own right as a leader of the ultimately unsuccessful fight to save Long Island College Hospital.

“Congratulations to my good friend Kenneth Adams on his appointment as Commissioner of the State Department of Taxation and Finance,” said Brooklyn Chamber President and CEO Carlo A. Scissura. “I know very well what incredible things Ken is capable of, from my time working with him in his most recent positions as President and CEO of Empire State Development and Commissioner of the New York State Department of Economic Development. Governor Cuomo could not have chosen a better person for the job, and I am confident Ken will continue to do amazing things in his new role to improve the lives of New Yorkers.”

Before being named to lead the Chamber, Kenneth Adams became familiar to observers of the Downtown Brooklyn scene as head of the MetroTech Business Improvement District (BID). The BID provides public safety, street cleaning and business development services in the area surrounding MetroTech.

Under Adams’ leadership, the Chamber enjoyed steady growth. During those years, the Eagle often quoted him on various news events.

For example, in 2006, when the New York Fire Patrol, a specialized unit formed to protect property as opposed to lives, was being dismantled, Adams said, “We recently had a fire in our building at 25 Elm Place. Fire Patrol responded to this fire. We were relieved and gratified to know Fire Patrol was here, in our building, willing to protect our office, our computers.”

In 2006, Adams left the Chamber to become president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, an advocacy organization that represents 2,400 private-sector businesses. When Adams was president, the 100-year-old Business Council made its first-ever endorsement for governor: Andrew Cuomo.

In 2011, Cuomo appointed Adams as president, CEO and commissioner of the Empire State Development Corp. At the time, the Eagle ran an article featuring the reaction of prominent Brooklynites to Adams’ appointment.

Then-Borough President Marty Markowitz said, “Ken is superbly qualified for this new role — he is an innovative trailblazer who made a huge and lasting impact on Brooklyn’s business community while president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.”

And Carl Hum, then president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, said, “The governor did a great job by choosing Kenneth to head the ESCD. Because of his experience in Brooklyn and Albany, he understands both upstate and downstate concerns.”

In 2012, when longtime Eagle columnist Dennis Holt died, Adams contacted the paper and said, “Dennis was the very best of community journalists — experienced, thoughtful and judicious as a reporter, and, at the same time, loyal and devoted to the many Brooklyn people, places, causes and organizations about which he wrote.”

As for Gatling, she joins the Cuomo administration from the New York City Commission on Human Rights, where she served as commissioner and chair since 2002. Previously, she served as first assistant district attorney under then-Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes and as special assistant attorney general at the Office to Investigate Corruption in New York City.

In 2013, Hynes named Gatling as part of a team to probe several murder cases that were investigated by controversial former NYPD Detective Louis Scarcella, who has been accused of browbeating suspects and railroading witnesses.

Later that year, Hynes appointed Gatling to a “transition team” after he lost the Democratic nomination for district attorney to Kenneth Thompson, who eventually was elected as the new Brooklyn D.A.

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