In a political spectacle that was strange even for New York City standards, Eric Adams on Wednesday took reporters on a tour of his Brooklyn apartment in an effort to prove he lives there, after a report came out that speculated whether his residence was in the five boroughs at all, but New Jersey instead.
The Democratic mayoral hopeful, who has been leading the pack in recent polls, welcomed reporters inside his garden apartment home on Lafayette Avenue, showing his kitchen (even providing a look inside his refrigerator) and bedroom for all to see.
"The majority of my nights, I sleep here," he said standing beside the bed.
The intimate-yet-odd peek behind the curtain for a mayoral candidate comes after questions were first raised by a Politico report that questioned how many nights spends sleeping at the taxpayer financed Brooklyn Borough Hall. The article also speculated on how much time Adams spends at the Fort Lee co-op he shares with girlfriend Tracey Collins.
According to the report, documents showed renters in the Brooklyn building — tenants that don't appear on his tax returns. However, those tenants do appear on Adams' financial disclosure form when he entered the the mayoral race.
"It's really silly to even insinuate. How foolish would someone have to be to run for mayor of New York City and live in another municipality?" Adams asked rhetorically.
As for why neighbors may not see him much, Adams said that's due to his long hours he spends working, and being out of the house around 5:30 a.m. every morning. He did admit that if he is working late at Borough Hall, and is only able to get a couple of hours sleep, he will do it there occasionally.
Outside of his Bedford-Stuyvesant home, Adams frequently wiped away tears during a press conference to address the issue. His 25-year-old son Jordan stood next to him as Adams said that if he's been mysterious about his personal life, it was done to protect loved ones — ever since he was the target of gunfire when his son was young.
"Throughout my entire police career, none of my colleagues knew I had a son," Adams said. "That is my secrecy. My secrecy is my family."
Jordan Adams, who said he sometimes stays at the Brooklyn apartment but lives in New Jersey, weighed in on the flurry of questions aimed at his father as well.
"My dad's very popular — either they really like him or dislike him. And some people try to find a loophole in these situations," he said.
The elder Adams also explained the only reason he hadn't reported rental income from his tenants was due to his tax accountant advising against it. He said that he was reporting a loss, so it was not required.
"We are transparent. I never hid that I own a co-op in Jersey, but my primary residence is in Brooklyn," Adams said.
The most recent poll, by PIX11/Emerson that was released Wednesday, shows Adams garnered 23 percent of voter support. He was six percentage points ahead of his nearest competitor, Maya Wiley, who shot up to second after a weekend endorsement from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Wiley gained another endorsement on Wednesday, that from NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. She was asked if she thought Adams' emotional display was genuine.
"I can't speak to Eric Adams' state of mind, but there are basic questions we need answers to and I don't think we've heard them, she said. "I can't get inside anyone's head. But you know where I live."
Rounding out the top spots in the latest poll were Andrew Yang (15 percent), Kathryn Garcia (12 percent) and Scott Stringer (nine percent).
Yang was particularly eager to jump on the accusations against Adams, after taking considerable heat from him for going to his home in New Paltz during the pandemic.
"Eric Adams is unprincipled, he doesn't follow the rules of the road, he's been dogged by corruption investigations everywhere he's gone," Yang said at a press conference. "He's ducking this week's debate, and now, he probably lives in New Jersey."
Yang did offer Adams a way he could put some of the suspicions about his residence to bed: releasing some travel information.
"Just release your E-ZPass records for your city vehicle over the last couple of years," Yang said. "If you've been in Brooklyn, it will show nothing and we can all move on."
Scott Stringer agreed, saying "releasing any and all records will be good for the discussion." He also said that Adams' residence "seems to vary by the day."
The Adams campaign said they were working on getting those records made public as soon as possible, and insist they will prove he does not live across the Hudson River.
Landing outside of the top tier was Dianne Morales, whose campaign appears to be on the brink of ending just two weeks ahead of primary day. According to a NY Daily News report, Morales laid off her entire remaining staff of at least 40 people, who had been in the midst of a work stoppage after coworkers who sought to unionize were fired.
According to the report, Morales said she had to let the remaining staffers go because she is receiving public matching funds for her campaign, and that money can only be used on political expenses. By continuing to pay the workers through a work stoppage, she could be in violation of the law, she told the Daily News in a statement.