Eric Adams’ relationship with hotel developer raises ethical concerns

Weihong Hu bundled campaign dollars, then scored contracts

Eric Adams, Hotel Operator Test Ethical Boundaries

A photo illustration of Mayor of New York City Eric Adams (Getty)

Weihong Hu and Mayor Eric Adams have a mutually beneficial relationship that has sparked ethical concerns since their first 2021 meeting, according to an investigation from The City, The Guardian US and Documented.

Hu bundled tens of thousands of dollars in campaign fundraising for the mayor. Subsequently, she privately scored a myriad of benefits, including city contracts worth millions of dollars. 

Hu also linked herself to some of Adams’ longtime associates, some of whom have previously faced ethical controversies.

In 2021, Hu met former state Sen. John Sampson, a friend of Adams who was recently released from prison after trying to obstruct an embezzlement probe. Hu later hired Sampson as chief executive officer of a Hu hotel company, helping her land a $7.5 million annual contract from the city for a migrant shelter in Long Island City.

Hu later received a $6.3 million annual contract to renew the migrant shelter, despite issues such as elevator breakdowns and minimal housekeeping. Last year, the contract was renewed again, bumping up potential annual revenue to $8.8 million.

Elsewhere, after construction was halted for two of Hu’s hotel developments in Manhattan, another Adams confidant, Rev. Alfred Cockfield II, helped fight the city on Hu’s behalf. Hu referred to Cockfield as a “consultant.” 

At one development, the Department of Buildings reversed a stop-work order an hour after a late-night call from Cockfield. (At the time, the department was run by Eric Ulrich, who later resigned amid a gambling probe.)

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At another development, a plan for affordable apartments was scuttled, seemingly with the help of the administration. The Department of Buildings approved Hu’s request for a fully commercial 25-story hotel.

Adams’ administration defended its oversight of the hotel developments, with a spokesperson saying the projects “went through standard DOB processes for investigating and addressing complaints.”

The Adams administration seems to have also put up one of its staffers at Hu’s Wyndham Garden hotel in Fresh Meadows, Queens, for eight months. Winnie Greco, a senior staffer of the Adams administration, lived in a “specially arranged suite,” a stay that likely cost the city at least $50,000.

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The mayor’s office previously said that Greco paid for the room, but failed to present receipts. The administration declined to comment on Greco’s residency, citing a Department of Investigation probe into her possible ethics violations.

It was one of 148 rooms at the hotel paid for by the city, including one for the mayor’s son, Jordan Coleman. When Adams became mayor, Hu’s six-month contract to run a shelter at the Fresh Meadows hotel was renewed on four occasions, at $6.2 million annually.

An attorney for Hu denied the allegations against the hotel operator. 

Holden Walter-Warner