After the New York Times published a lengthy piece Monday questioning New York City Mayor Eric Adams' nightlife activity, Adams shot back during a press conference later in the day, calling the story "silly."
"What is going on with The New York Times? The front page of The New York Times — 'Breaking news: Eric likes going to restaurants,'" Adams said during a press conference Monday afternoon. “With monkeypox, COVID, crime, economy, all the issues going on in this city, they are writing a story that 'Eric goes to a restaurant' that they stood in front of.'"
The Times article reported that Adams visited Osteria La Baia, an upscale restaurant owned by his twin friends Robert and Zhan Petrosyants, both with a history of felony convictions, tax debts, and other legal troubles.
The newspaper also requested receipts from the Adams twins and the restaurant to see who paid for the meals, without getting an answer.
"I pay every bill, not the city," Adams said. "What mayor have you ever asked to get receipts for his private dinners? You can't have a rule for Eric and then a rule for everyone else. Some people allow that, I don't. I owe no one a receipt of a private dinner I had with people in this city."
The story noted that Adams could have violated ethics rules by not paying for the dinners, which, although not strictly a violation in that the brothers are not "vendors" for the city, could run afoul of the Conflicts of Interest Board’s recommendation that officials do not accept a gift of more than $50 because of their position.
It also called into question the people Adams may have hosted during his outings at that venue and others around the city, including former Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Adams' spokesman Maxwell Young told the Times that even if Adams discusses business during those outings, that's not unprecedented or nefarious.
"Of course, there is nothing wrong with talking city business at a restaurant," Young told the Times.
Adams also brought the issue up, saying that he was never "off the clock" as mayor, but said that there was a side to his outings the Times did not report.
"I am never on private time being mayor. I never 'clock out,'" he said. "This is the silliest thing I have ever heard."
Adams said that after his meals, he will often visit with the staff of the restaurant, then ride the public subway during the nighttime hours to ensure its safety for residents of the city, visits that go unreported.
"They didn't report how I go to the areas of the city to make sure what happens during the midnight hours," he said. "I am up every morning doing my job. This is so silly."
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