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Eric Adams’s Brother Has a New Gig: Black-Tie Philanthropy

LocalEric Adams’s Brother Has a New Gig: Black-Tie Philanthropy

More than two years ago, Mayor Eric Adams’s brother Bernard uprooted his life as a Virginia parking administrator and came to New York City to work in his older brother’s nascent administration. But that job, as a deputy police commissioner, did not work out as planned.

Now, Bernard is leveraging his relationship with the mayor to launch a foray into philanthropy.

In partnership with Alisa Roever, a self-described jet-setter who was friends with Ivana Trump and celebrated Easter this year at Mar-a-Lago, Bernard Adams has founded an organization whose goal is to connect New York City’s youth to arts and culture, according to the website for the new group, Angels Helpers NYC.

The organization had been planning to host a black-tie gala at the restaurant Osteria La Baia, but then switched venues to 432 Park Avenue, a skyscraper on Manhattan’s so-called Billionaire’s Row. The gala was to feature the mayor and a former Miss World Ukraine, Anna Zaiachkivska, as “special guests,” according to an invitation for the event next Thursday. Tickets to the dinner cost between $500 and $1,000.

But on Thursday, Ms. Roever said the organization was postponing the gala, citing scheduling issues with some of the children who were supposed to perform.

Incorporated in March, the nonprofit’s mission is a noble and expansive one, according to its New York State registration papers: It is “committed to dealing with mental health issues, preventing cruelty to children, fostering support for abused women and children, and embarking on educational, literary, and scientific endeavors.”

“These initiatives aim not only to explore treatments for diseases and illnesses but also to provide assistance to the needy in and around New York City,” it goes on, adding that it aims to join forces with businesses and government agencies.

Nothing in city law or ethics guidelines appears to prohibit the mayor’s brother from creating a philanthropic nonprofit, but his leadership role raises the potential that donors to the mayor’s campaign, which is currently the subject of a federal criminal investigation, will contribute to the organization as a way to curry favor with him.

Fabien Levy, a spokesman for the mayor, had no immediate comment.

Ms. Roever said the organization has not done any charitable work yet. On its webpage, a large picture features dozens of children involved in Highbridge Voices, a Bronx organization that provides musical instruction to local children.

Richard Owen, the Highbridge Voices chief executive, said it was his understanding that his organization was supposed to reap a portion of the proceeds from the now-postponed gala.

He had considered the timing of the partnership “very fortunate,” given how badly his organization was hit by the pandemic. Mr. Owen said he believed he had been connected to Angels Helpers via one of his board members.

He declined to comment on Ms. Roever’s contention that there were scheduling issues with his musicians.

The leadership team of Angels Helpers NYC includes Ms. Zaiachkivska, who is listed as the gala’s co-chair, and Ms. Roever, the organization’s co-founder.

Ms. Roever is a former model who has written for Haute Living, a Florida-based luxury magazine, where an author page describes her as “a full-time wife, mother and jet-setter.” She is also acquainted with the mayor: Her Instagram page features photos of the two socializing, as well as images of her at some of the mayor’s go-to establishments, including the private club Zero Bond and Osteria La Baia, one of his favorite restaurants.

Ms. Roever said she met Bernard Adams at a charitable event for the Noel Shoe Museum Gala at the Metropolitan Club in October. “We connected on a passion to help people in need,” she said in a text message. At the event, Mr. Adams donated a pair of his brother’s shoes, she recalled.

Bernard Adams did not respond to requests for comment. The mayor is a retired police captain.

His role and whereabouts have been somewhat shrouded in recent months, after he left the city’s employment. A retired New York Police Department sergeant, he was first hired shortly after Eric Adams became mayor in January 2022; The New York Post reported that the mayor installed Bernard as a deputy police commissioner, a position that was expected to pay about $240,000 a year. After an outcry, the mayor, a retired police captain, changed his mind and said his brother would instead fulfill a diminished role, overseeing the mayor’s security, for a salary of $210,000.

Amid the furor, the mayor retroactively sought guidance from the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board, which ruled that the his brother could earn no more than $1 a year. Bernard Adams, who had a $64,000-a-year pension, lasted a year under those circumstances.

Around the same time, the mayor’s Department of Education named Bernard Adams’s wife, Sharon Adams, a “strategic initiative specialist,” with a salary of $150,000, according to The City, a nonprofit publication. The mayor said that all hiring decisions are merit-based.

Like her husband, Ms. Adams is trying on other new roles. Campaign records indicate she is now serving as treasurer of the mayor’s re-election campaign.

Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

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