EXCLUSIVE: Adams addresses Ridge Democratic club

“There is nothing on the tapes that is detrimental or damaging to me.”

So asserted State Senator Eric Adams, the frontrunner to succeed current Borough President Marty Markowitz, who is term-limited and will be stepping down at the end of the year.

On Thursday, May 23, Adams spoke before members of Brooklyn Democrats for Change, gathered at the Corner Kitchen on Fifth Avenue near Senator Street for their endorsement meeting, two weeks after it was revealed that former State Senator Shirley Huntley – who was recently sentence for embezzlement — had secretly recorded Adams and two other Brooklyn state senators, among others, for federal authorities last summer.

The names of Adams, Velmanette Montgomery, and John Sampson were among seven city politicians named in a memorandum unsealed by a federal judge on May 8.

“I want to put the pink elephant in the room to rest,” Adams, who is currently running for the Democratic nomination against a single opponent, former Councilmember John Gangemi — told his listeners. “The Shirley Huntley tapes. Nothing is more important to me than my name. If you look at the last 30 years of my life, you see that who I am in my guarded moments is who I am in my unguarded moments. I am committed to doing what’s right.”

Adams – a former police captain with the NYPD who has represented central Brooklyn in the State Senate since 2007 — has been in Bay Ridge and other parts of southwest Brooklyn increasingly as his candidacy has progressed. However, he notably missed the meeting of the Bay Ridge Democrats which he had originally said he would attend. It was held on May 9, the day after the names of the individuals recorded by Huntley were revealed. The Bay Ridge Democrats subsequently declined to endorse anyone for the borough president post. Brooklyn Democrats for Change did endorse Adams.

“A lot was happening that day,” Adams recalled in an exclusive interview with The Home Reporter. “Oftentimes, people outside of government don’t realize that we have family. When the story came out, I knew I had time to speak with voters. My first order of business was to speak with my 17-year-old son. It’s a ritual I have always had, when a cop was shot. For me, it’s family first. I wanted my son to understand that nothing on those tapes was harmful to me. I didn’t spend my life enforcing the laws to break them.

“In no way did I want to endorse the club,” Adams went on. “My schedule didn’t come together so I could get there. I’ve been there several times and they are going to see much more of me. I’m not going to be a stranger to Bay Ridge.”

How does he feel about having been recorded? “Any of us who has at some time been a shoulder for someone to lean on or cry on knows how hurtful it is to find out that someone you have been a shoulder for is recording you,” he replied. “But I’m not jaded. I will continue to be an ear for those who need to speak to someone. I will continue to be there when someone says, ‘I need to talk.’”

Has the revelation that he had been taped changed the tenor of his campaign? “Not at all,” Adams replied. “If anything, rarely do you get an opportunity to witness how much people really care about you. The number of calls I’ve gotten since then has been remarkable. The people who have called said, ‘I know you. I’m with you.’

“I didn’t see the unraveling of anything. I saw a strengthening,” Adams went on. “The campaign is still full-strength. I didn’t lose one endorsement.”

Given the number of scandals that have come out of Albany in the recent past – including the cloud now hanging over him and several colleagues – is Adams waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Stressing that he could only speak for himself, he responded, “I know if the shoe is dropped, it’s not going to be my shoe. If something does happen out of the tapes, which I don’t believe, I know I am not going to be involved.”

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