Mayor Adams releases 2021 tax forms, which appear to contradict NYC financial disclosure

Mayor Adams’ most recent tax forms, which he released to the press Thursday night, appear to contradict financial disclosures he made to the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board for the 2021 calendar year.

Adams earned $231,977 in taxable income in 2021, his latest returns show. He paid $56,000 in federal income taxes and $18,798 in state and city taxes. According to his 2021 federal income tax return to the Internal Revenue Service, he overpaid $338 on his federal tax returns, an amount for which he requested a $245 refund.

He also appears to have received a refund of $1,118 on state and city taxes, his state return shows.

Aside from those relatively modest windfalls, the mayor’s latest tax returns show he did not claim income on his cookbook, Healthy at Last, which he published in Oct. 2020 — even though separate forms he filed with COIB for 2021 indicate he claimed between $5,000 and $50,000 worth of income off a book advance. On his previous annual disclosure report, for 2020, Adams claimed the same income range for the same book, also labeled as a “book advance.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams

When asked about the discrepancy between Adams’ tax and COIB forms, the mayor’s spokesman Fabien Levy initially said that Adams never took money off the book’s royalties. Levy added that a royalty check for the book went directly to Adams’ ghostwriters, Gene Stone and Nicholas Bromley. The ghostwriters did not immediately respond to queries from the Daily News.

When asked why the mayor would claim income on his COIB form that he didn’t receive, Levy said Thursday night that Adams did so out of an abundance of caution. Less than 24 hours later, on Friday afternoon, Levy told the Daily News that Adams actually plans to fix his 2021 COIB filing by removing the book advance as a source of income.

It’s unclear whether Adams received two book advances for Healthy at Last, or if, on his 2021 COIB form, he incorrectly labeled the income from the book as a book advance, rather than as royalties. After referring to the 2021 income as royalties on Thursday night, Levy reversed himself Friday, saying that the income was derived from book advances paid out both in 2020 and 2021.

During his run for mayor in 2021, Adams’ taxes became a subject of controversy when Politico revealed he failed to properly disclose rental income he received on tax returns. His taxes became a flash point again earlier this year when he refused to release his returns last April. Days after his refusal, Adams partially reversed himself, saying he’d release “tax information.” After that, during an interview with former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, he affirmed that he would put out his return, which was filed on an extension this year.

Levy said Friday that Adams still does not intend to publicly release his 2020 tax returns.

Another controversy during Adams’ City Hall run was over where he resided. During the race, Adams, who previously served as Brooklyn borough president, slept some nights at Borough Hall. Questions also swirled over how much time he spent in Fort Lee, NJ, at the apartment he co-owns with his partner Tracey Collins.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams

The mayor now lives at Gracie Mansion. And while he lists his home address on his income tax forms as being in Bedford Stuyvesant, he still co-owns the property in Fort Lee and another property in Brooklyn, according to his latest COIB form.

On Adams’ 2021 federal tax returns, under the “itemized deductions” header, the mayor claimed a deduction on his “home mortgage.”

But from the tax form, it’s not completely clear which property he’s referring to.

Levy claimed the property in question is the one in Bedford Stuyvesant, and that, regarding the mortgage interest of $5,165 he paid out in 2021, one-third of that is for his unit in the building and two-thirds are for rental units there.

But it is also not entirely clear, based on city building and financial records, whether the building has three units or four. On Friday, Levy noted that there are four units in the building, one that is used by Adams and his family as well as three rentals. Two of the rentals were let to tenants and one remained vacant in 2021, according to Levy.

According to city Building Department records, the property has two “active” complaints on file — one for illegal plumbing work and the other for what’s labeled: “ILLEGAL CONVERSION: RESIDENTIAL SPACE.” The most recently recorded entry on the illegal conversion shows that an inspection was attempted, but that there was “no response.”

During the mayor’s race, after it became public that Adams hadn’t properly reported rental income on his tax returns, his campaign team blamed his former accountant, Clarence Harley. The news outlet, The City, subsequently revealed Harley was terminated from a job in 2017 for alleged financial improprieties.

The accountant who filled out Adams’ 2021 tax forms is listed on the returns as Edgar James.

When asked how the mayor came to hire James, Adams’ spokesman Levy declined to say.

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