Skip to main content

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/what's coming/what's missing, who's responsible, + project FAQ/timeline (pinned post)

The New Yorker's bombshell: "How Eric Adams Started Mentoring a Con Man" (with a Barclays Center cameo)

The New Yorker's Eric Lach yesterday published How Eric Adams Started Mentoring a Con Man, with the subheading "Why did New York’s mayor take Lamor Whitehead, a fraudster Brooklyn church leader, under his wing?"

It goes into far more depth, and with more skepticism about Adams and his "mentee," than previous profiles in the New York Times or New York magazine. After all, one person who did business with Whitehead told a federal investigator, "'I think the mayor of New York is on the take.'" (That remains unproven, of course.)

And it vindicates the suggestion I made, back in August 2018, that Adams deserved a lot more scrutiny, in part because of his relationship with Whitehead and with the controversial nightspot Woodland.

The bottom line

One source suggests Adams, while associated with Whitehead and other questionable characters (like the twins who ran Woodland), has not crossed the line.

That said, it looks like Whitehead has done so. Lach writes:
There are people all over the city who claim to have been conned, burned, harassed, lied to, or otherwise hurt by Whitehead. Many have reported Whitehead to the authorities, and several have come away feeling that Whitehead was protected by his relationship with Adams... Many Brooklyn church figures, business associates, and former friends of Whitehead’s refused to speak to me for this article, because they said they feared him. 
A connection to history?

The article also raises questions about whether Whitehead indeed is the son of Arthur Miller, a Black man killed in 1978 by police officers, a notorious episode Adams has commemorated with Whitehead as guest. Whitehead has said he is the son of a woman not married to Miller.

One of the four children Miller had with his wife told the writer that "she and her siblings offered to fly Whitehead to Florida, where they now live, to take a DNA test. He had declined."

The Barclays Center cameo

From the article:
In the fall of 2014, Whitehead got approval to organize a gospel concert at the Barclays Center, the new arena in downtown Brooklyn. (A press release for the event noted that the concert would benefit [Whitehead's organization] Leaders of Tomorrow Brooklyn, and touted that Adams would attend as a “special guest.”) Marquee names in the gospel world signed on, but, behind the scenes, the planning was a mess. Whitehead repeatedly dismissed concerns about how he was raising money for the event, and how he would market it. “He kept saying, ‘I have the support of Eric Adams,’ ” someone involved with the concert said. “He just had no idea what he was doing.” The Barclays Center ultimately cancelled the event, despite the hundred and fifty thousand dollars that Whitehead had raised in order to put on the show. (Whitehead, through his lawyer, said that it was his own decision to cancel the Barclays concert.)
And then a quote from Whitehead's former apartment-mate, Aurora Gordon:
She told the [Brooklyn District Attorney's] office about the hundred and fifty thousand dollars that Whitehead had raised for the Adams-backed Barclays Center concert. The money had come from Ron Borovinsky, one of the founders of a Brooklyn real-estate company called My Ideal Property, which claimed to have flipped hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of homes in the historically Black neighborhoods of central Brooklyn. Some of the company’s operators were later indicted by the federal government for duping lenders and borrowers in real-estate deals. (Borovinsky was not criminally charged; the case is ongoing.) In her e-mail, Gordon said she had learned that Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Adams’s closest adviser, had tried to get Adams to stay away from Whitehead. “Eric is not listening,” Gordon wrote. “He and Lamor are in business together.”
Lach writes that the Brooklyn D.A.’s office "pursued two investigations into Whitehead during Adams’s first term as borough president.... Both investigations into Whitehead ended without charges." 

Which leaves a question about what the feds might be doing.