fbpx FBI Raids Home of Eric Adams' Top Aide Winnie Greco, Sparking Heated Discussion Within Chinese Community - Documented
 

FBI Raids Home of Eric Adams’ Top Aide Winnie Greco, Sparking Split Reactions in Chinese Community

"It was only a matter of time,” one community member said in response to the raid.

A Bronx home belonging to Winnie Greco, one of Mayor Eric Adams’ top aides, was raided by the FBI on Thursday, Documented has confirmed through the FBI’s New York office.

The FBI raided 1447 Gillespie Avenue, which records confirm is property owned by Greco, special advisor to the Mayor and director of Asian affairs, who has been a longtime aide to the mayor since he was Brooklyn Borough President. She is currently under investigation by the city’s Department of Investigation for unspecified reasons.

Last October, Documented first revealed many connections between Greco and a Chinatown business association that won a city contract to renovate and run the iconic East Broadway Mall in Chinatown. A subsequent investigation by THE CITY later exposed allegations that Greco used her position in the Adams administration for personal gain, including renovations to her home and asking Chinese business executives to make a $10,000 donation to gain access to a Chinese-focused event held by the mayor at Gracie Mansion.

Also Read: Behind a Chinatown Real Estate Deal, a Web of Shifting Alliances and Political Connections

Thursday’s raid has sent shockwaves throughout the city’s Chinese communities. 

“This is really big news,” said Terry Chan, the former operator of East Broadway Mall in Chinatown. He explained that the raid brought concerns that any project Greco had been involved in could implicate anyone associated with it. Chan alleged that his company lost the bid on the mall his family had constructed for the city because of Greco’s influence.

“Our bid was much better financially for the city, but we lost to a lower offer. This happened right after the fundraiser, which is how they won the bid,” Chan said, referring to the fundraising event on June 8, 2023, hosted at Hakka Cuisine, a restaurant owned by Wade Li, who is the president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York and affiliated with the new operator Broadway East Group. Eric Adams and Winnie Greco attended the event and took pictures with BEG members. On June 20, the Department of Administrative Services (DCAS) announced BEG as the new operator during a meeting conducted by Community Board 3.

As the building is changing hands, questions have arisen among former operators and tenants regarding the new leadership of Broadway East Group.

Today, the once iconic shopping mall’s glass doors and exterior walls bear graffiti, while most of the store doors remain shut. Photo: April Xu for Documented

Greco, 61, was appointed as a senior advisor to the mayor in January 2022 with a salary of $100,000. Her association with Adams dates back to his tenure as the borough president of Brooklyn. Serving as a volunteer “ambassador” to the Chinese community for the Brooklyn Borough President’s office, Greco accompanied Adams on at least two trips to China. During these trips, she facilitated introductions between Adams and local government officials and businesspeople in China. Greco also played a role in connecting Adams with numerous community and business leaders within the Chinese community in New York City, many of whom were major supporters and donors during his mayoral campaign.

“It was only a matter of time. Look at the archway project; after so many years, it ended up with nothing,” said a person familiar with the stalled Brooklyn Archway project that Greco fundraised for over the years. When Mayor Adams proposed a plan to build an archway in Chinatown in Manhattan this January, some members of the Chinese community in Brooklyn demanded transparency regarding where their donations went for the archway project in Sunset Park.

Also Read: Brooklyn’s Chinese-American Donors Question What Became of Sunset Park Arch, as Adams Boosts Similar Manhattan Project

Jerry Lo, who is actively involved in Chinese community politics, mentioned that he became more acquainted with Greco during the pandemic. “She did a lot of things that were helpful for the Chinese community. We worked together to distribute PPE to community members,” Lo said. He acknowledged that it’s not easy to have a Chinese individual like Greco achieve a high position in the mayor’s office, adding, “I hope that she will be fine.”

“When you’re in a high position like that, the political sphere can be tricky, and there’s always a risk of getting attacked,” Steven Tin, who has known Greco for about 20 years, said.

Greco showed up at the Lunar New Year event in Chinatown earlier this month on behalf of the mayor’s office. Tin said that as a committee member of Friends of Chinese Americans Endorse Eric Adams, he had assisted Greco in organizing fundraising events for Eric Adams’ campaign. He clarified that he only helped Greco coordinate the events and did not handle any financial transactions. “As a friend, I’m worried about her. But I don’t believe she has anything to worry about. If she hasn’t done anything wrong, she shouldn’t be worried,” he said. 

Federal agents had blocked off the road outside the residence and were still present as of mid-afternoon Thursday, according to reports. The FBI declined to comment on whether the investigation is related to Greco, the reason behind the probe, or whether anyone was arrested during the law enforcement activity.

In response to Documented’s inquiry about the investigation, a spokesperson from the mayor’s office said in a statement: “Our administration will always follow the law, and we always expect all our employees to adhere to the strictest ethical guidelines. As we have repeatedly said, we don’t comment on matters that are under review, but will fully cooperate with any review underway. The mayor has not been accused of any wrongdoing.” The mayor’s office had not been contacted prior to the raid. 

Steven Wong, a Chinese community leader and committee member of Friends of Chinese Americans Endorse Eric Adams, said he would wait for the findings of the FBI’s investigation and believed it was a normal process for the FBI to follow leads they received.

“It’s encouraging to see so many individuals from our Chinese community engaging in politics, but it’s disappointing if they’re not truly serving the people,” he said. “If Greco did anything illegal, there’s nothing we can do for her.” He added, “Adhering to the law and serving society is the genuine path for us to integrate into American society.”

If you have any news tips, feel free to contact april.xu@documentedny.com

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