Rybak failed to disclose Adams campaign fundraising
Development firm raised as much as $71K for mayor’s campaign
Fundraising for Mayor Eric Adams’ campaign snagged another construction firm after a Brooklyn-based developer failed to disclose a 2019 event.
Rybak Development employees and vendors contributed at least $71,000 to the coffers of Adams’ mayoral campaign, including the city’s matching funds, that was not disclosed to campaign finance officials, Gothamist reported.
The Campaign Finance Board has no record of “bundled” donations from Sergey Rybak, who would have been required to fill out an intermediary statement. Adams’ campaign also didn’t disclose the event to officials.
The event raised $8,000 in direct donations and an additional $14,000 in potential public matching funds. For the wider campaign, Rybak bundled $28,500 in direct donations, resulting in $42,800 in potential matching funds for a grand total of $71,300.
“We cannot comment on the details of a federal investigation and an ongoing audit — but we are confident all rules and laws were followed,” a lawyer for the campaign said in a statement.
Attendees of the fundraiser told Gothamist that Rybak urged attendance and donations by employees and vendors. Rybak said he didn’t compel employees and vendors to donate to the future mayor, and claimed he doesn’t personally contribute to campaigns despite city records reported by the outlet showing more than $15,000 donated to six local candidates since 2017.
At the time of the event, Rybak was applying for a zoning change for a project in Brooklyn, where Adams was borough president. The rezoning, which faced little resistance and passed with flying colors, centered on adding ground-floor retail space and a second-floor gym to a 20-story apartment project, Sea Breeze Tower.
Rybak denied knowing of the rezoning application or asking for help on it.
Rybak’s is the second construction company being scrutinized for fundraising for Adams without proper disclosures. KSK Construction is at the center of a potential straw donor scandal that resulted in a home raid of a prominent Adams campaign operative; employees at KSK have distanced themselves from the controversy.
Straw donors have also been accused of helping Adams, who hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing.
— Holden Walter-Warner