Hudson Yards, One Vanderbilt Reportedly Got Fast-Tracked Inspections At Adams' Office's Request
The list of buildings connected to the FBI's investigation into possible corruption in Mayor Eric Adams' administration is growing longer.
In 2022, multiple New York Fire Department chiefs received an email to fast-track a fire alarm system inspection at Related Cos.' 50 Hudson Yards, The City reports. The email said the request came from City Hall. A sushi restaurant co-owned by SL Green in its One Vanderbilt supertall was also on a list for expedited inspections, according to the publication.
SL Green has been one of Adams' biggest financial backers in real estate, while Related has lobbied the mayor and supported his efforts to spur a comeback in the city. The Farley Building development, which is co-owned by Related and Vornado, was also on a deputy mayor's list of preferred projects for FDNY inspections, The City previously reported.
Authorities are looking into the finances of Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign, including whether it improperly took money from operatives of the Turkish government via a straw donor scheme.
Earlier this month, agents searched the home of Adams' chief fundraiser and seized phones and a tablet from Adams himself. The mayor hasn't been accused of any wrongdoing and has said he is cooperating with the investigation.
A key juncture in the investigation is whether Adams pressured the city’s fire chief to rush the opening of a new Turkish Consulate in Midtown East despite safety concerns, The New York Times previously reported.
The practice of fast-tracking a fire inspection wasn't restricted to the Turkish Consulate, according to a lawsuit filed by Joseph Jardin, a former FDNY chief of fire prevention.
Jardin said City Hall created what is called the Deputy Mayor of Operations list, set up during former Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration, allowing well-connected developers to be prioritized for inspections, even though the list was created with the intent of reducing red tape for small businesses.
Regarding 50 Hudson Yards, FDNY Deputy Chief Kevin Murphy wrote in an email on April 8, 2022, that the request to expedite the inspection had come from the FDNY commissioner as a top priority from City Hall.
Any “feedback or consequences from rescheduled/cancelled inspections” would be handled by top brass in the department, the email says, according to The City. Adams attended the opening of 50 Hudson Yards in October 2022 and described it as a “milestone” for the city.
Joji, the sushi restaurant at the bottom of One Vanderbilt, was only on the DMO list for three months, a source told The City. It went onto the list in June 2022 with the view of the location being open by mid-September.
“As the Mayor, Fire Commissioner, and Deputy Mayor of Operations have repeatedly stated, our priority has always been constituent services and getting things done while simultaneously protecting our city’s residents. When it comes to land use and development, it is common practice to prioritize requests to ensure we are meeting our city’s needs,” an FDNY spokesperson told The City.
“Making these decisions is our job in city government, and we do it all the time. Through improvements to the inspection process, the Fire Department has been able to cut our inspection wait time from 18 weeks to four weeks, and has conducted fire alarm inspections at a rate 33 percent faster this year than last year.”
Neither Related nor SL Green commented on their buildings' presence on the DMO list to The City. The list is reportedly the subject of widening FBI scrutiny.