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Finally, scrutiny for Winnie Greco, ethically dubious liasion to Chinese communities for Brooklyn BPs & now Mayor. She met 2014 w/incoming developer Greenland.

Winnie Greco, a longtime Bronx resident who somehow served as the liasion (link) to Brooklyn Chinese community for Brooklyn Borough Presidents Marty Markowitz and Eric Adams, and now serves as an aide and close advisor to Mayor Adams--close to him at his swearing-in ceremony and traveling with Adams’ son, Jordan Coleman--has long struck me as deserving of scrutiny, given her dubious and nontransparent roles.

Now, as described below, there are two tough pieces of journalism, from the New York Post and, especially, The City.

Flashback, 2014

In Brooklyn, (l.-r.)  Borough President Adams,
Greenland's Xu Jing, Borough Hall Liaison Greco
As I reported in September 2014, Greco, who claimed on one web site that she was "director of China-US affair in Brooklyn," helped organize Adams's trip earlier that year to China, aiming "to mutually promote economic development and tourism," including discussions with government officials about bringing a friendship arch to Sunset Park, Brooklyn's Chinatown.

Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner, as I reported, pushed hard to get Adams to meet with incoming project majority owner Greenland Holding Corp., parent of Greenland USA (buying 70% of the project going forward), on his trip and supplied talking points for him. 

The Borough President's team, including Greco, tried to make it work, though it ultimately didn't come to fruition. Ultimately, Greenland met with Adams in Brooklyn, with Greco present.

International travel, including lodging in Hong Kong and Beijing, was paid for by Greco's Sino-America New York Brooklyn Archway Association Corp., with costs in other locations paid for by the host local governments.

However, the New York Posreported that the Archway organization, which spent nearly $7,000 on trip expenses for Adams and Deputy BP Diana Reyna, had no discernible institutional history. Also, one of the organization's three directors said he had no idea how it paid for the trip.

New reporting from the Post

On Sept. 8, the New York Post, in Top Eric Adams aide’s company got Chinese communist cash, reported that Greco's company,  Greco Development LLC, got an unknown amount of funding "from the Propaganda Department of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese Communist Party."

The Post also reported that Greco had been called "a 'consultant' by at least two Beijing-backed organizations — the Dong Guan Association of America and the Fujian Daily Southeast Network." That status was denied by an Adams spokesperson, with "sources" saying Greco was asking the former organization to revise its website. It's unclear if she was paid.

It noted that BP Adams in 2018 allocated $2 million in capital funds to build the promised “friendship archway," but that never happened. A promised $500,000 Chinese contribution never came. As The CITY reported, backers blamed geopolitical tensions.

New reporting from The CITY

Today, in a five-byline investigation headlined Mayor’s Asian Affairs Liaison Raised Big Money — and Big Questions About Her Conduct, The CITY reports that Greco "demanded donations for Gracie Mansion access and pressured a city employee to work in her own home"--and then he was fired.

The donations were supposed to be made to the Archway organization she leads. From The CITY:
Greco’s archway group reported raising more than $221,000 between 2013 and 2018, according to available IRS filings, but said it spent most of that money on fundraising events along the way.

Multiple sources told THE CITY that Chinese-American community members have been trying to figure out how much was raised for the archway organization and how the money was spent. They say the lack of any visible movement toward construction — particularly with its two biggest proponents now at City Hall — is a sore point.
Two other examples of favoritism: 
  • Greco's red Cadillac XT5 has a placard, “THIS VEHICLE IS ON OFFICIAL NYPD BUSINESS.” 
  • Her niece, a recent college grad, got a mayoral office job, earning $80,000, and has since been boosted to scheduler, earning $120,000, which is $20,000 more than Greco's slary.
Another bonus, previously unreported

Though Greco was unpaid by Adams for campaign fundraising, she apparently leveraged access in other ways. There's no evidence she was paid by Markowitz either.

However, I'd add, her company, Greco Development LLC (based at her Bronx residence), was paid more than $55,000 in 2009 by Markowitz's campaigns for campaign pins, Brooklyn Bridge replicas, and shipping--at a time when Markowitz was running unopposed for a third term. This has not been previously reported.

Updated: the screenshot above, which I took more than ten years ago, is from an earlier iteration of the state campaign finance website. The current iteration leaves the expenditures unclear, as shown in the screenshot below, which only lists two expenditures.