Eric Adams’ Republican rival in the election for City Hall last year, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, is calling on the Department of Investigation to probe the mayor’s dealings with convicted felons and his hiring of cronies with checkered pasts or questionable qualifications for top government posts.
“It’s one outrage after another outrage,” Sliwa said in a letter sent to DOI Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber, which was copied to the US Attorneys for the Southern District in Manhattan and the Eastern District in Brooklyn.
Sliwa asked DOI to determine whether Adams was getting free meals at Osteria La Baia restaurant, which is operated by Adams’ close friends, convicted felons Robert and Zhan Petrosyants.
The brothers were indicted on 11 federal counts for allegedly taking part in a check-cashing scheme connected to medical billing companies. In 2014, both brothers pleaded guilty to one conspiracy count each. Robert Petrosyants was sentenced to six months in prison and Zhan got five years probation, Politico first reported earlier this year.
The New York Times published a story in August revealing that reporters observed Adams dining at Osteria La Baia numerous times and not seeing him pay for the meals. Adams said he paid personally on a monthly basis.
“Ironically, New York City police officers and public servants who do the same are disciplined for this (consorting with known felons and accepting free meals) yet the mayor is immune from the same fate,” Sliwa wrote in his letter to DOI.
“Your agency must investigate the New York Times allegations regarding his dining with
felons and demand the production of the alleged proof of payment by Adams. Your
investigation should also determine why he associates with these convicted felons
something that police officers are barred from doing.”
He said DOI should use subpoena power if necessary.
“If police officers and other public servants are prohibited from accepting free meals the mayor should be held to the same standard,” Sliwa said.
“If Mayor Adams failed to pay for his meals, he would have violated the city’s ethics
rules. The city’s Conflicts of Interest Board advises public officials not to accept any
valuable gifts that are given to them because of their positions. If Adams were still a
police officer, he would be disciplined for accepting free meals and associating with
known felons. As the city’s chief executive, he should set an example for all city workers;
however, he doesn’t seem to care.”
In addition, Sliwa, in the letter to DOI, mentioned Adams’ questionable top hires.
Sliwa urged DOI to probe Adams’ “tainted” appointment of Philip Banks as deputy mayor of public safety despite Banks — a retired NYPD chief — having been named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a sweeping federal police corruption probe. The Post reported that authorities found hundreds of thousands of dollars in Banks’ bank accounts as part of the probe, though he was never charged.
He said Banks being identified as an unindicted co-conspirator “should have been reason
not to appoint” him as deputy mayor of public safety.
“The Banks investigation ensnared three additional high-ranking police officials who were terminated after pleading guilty to lesser charges. Additionally, Jeremy Reichberg, a prominent businessman was convicted of bribery and other crimes. Reichberg was a close associate of Deputy Mayor Banks,” said Sliwa.
Elsewhere, Sliwa criticized Adams’ hiring of his former pal and landlord, Lisa White, as the $241,000 deputy NYPD commissioner for employee relations. She was previously a supervisor for the 911 system.
“Nothing on her resume qualifies her for such an important position,” he said.
He also mentioned Adams’ hire of Eric Ulrich, the former Queens councilman, as the city buildings commissioner. Ulrich resigned earlier this month after it was revealed he was being investigated by the Manhattan DA’s office in a gambling probe.
Ulrich had possibly racked up debts in backroom Ozone Park card games with reputed mob associates, and drew the attention of authorities who were conducting an organized crime investigation, sources previously told The Post.
Ulrich, Slliwa, noted, had previously been linked to Robert Pisani, a Bonanno crime family associate, and Howard Beach businessman. In 2018, Pisani was convicted of assault and
Ulrich wrote a letter of support to the court before Pisani’s sentencing.
Sliwa, asked about his letter to DOI, said, “There’s a pattern here. Every few months there’s something else. Adams reminds me of the MC Hammer song when he says, `U Can’t Touch This.’”
A DOI spokeswoman declined comment on Sliwa’s letter.
Adams’ office had no immediate comment.