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Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Eric Adams faces increasing opposition to his legal pick within City Council

Eric Adams faces increasing opposition to his legal pick within City Council

The council speaker told Adams of her concerns over the weekend.

New York Mayor Eric Adams speaks at an event.

“The 51 council members are mostly Democrats, like the mayor. They’re run by one of his high school classmates, who endorsed him in the multi-candidate, bare-knuckle 2021 primary. By order of the city charter, they hold far less power than the city’s top executive. And yet Adams — a talented public communicator who rose through similarly local legislative positions — has faced one problem after another within the council.

The latest trouble over his expected appointment of controversial lawyer Randy Mastro — a big-personality New York attorney who worked in Rudy Giuliani’s City Hall — escalated on Tuesday with another public statement of admonition from members of the council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.

“The considered nomination of Randy Mastro as Corporation Counsel is an affront to the principles of public service we all hold dear,” the caucus wrote. “Given his professional track record representing dubious clients, which has included bringing numerous lawsuits against the City of New York, Mastro is unfit to serve as the city’s chief lawyer.”

Two people familiar with the internal deliberations said about half of that caucus supported the release of the statement.

The letter did more than add names to the list of opponents to the position over which the council has confirmation power. It undermined Team Adams’ go-to argument that opposition to his agenda stems from far-left progressives.

Some of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus members belong to the council’s Progressive Caucus, whose participants have voiced opposition to the potential appointment of Mastro — a lawyer some Council members have had run-ins with over the years. In addition to working for Giuliani, Mastro worked for Republican former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on the “Bridgegate” scandal, oil giant Chevron and an Upper West Side group that tried to get homeless New Yorkers out of the Lucerne Hotel amid the Covid pandemic.

Several council members who do not align with the Progressive Caucus told POLITICO on the condition of anonymity that they are concerned with the possible appointment — which comes as federal investigators probe allegations of corruption related to Adams’ 2021 campaign. (The mayor has denied wrongdoing and has not been named in any investigation, but three close associates’ homes have been raided.)“

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