NEW YORK — The “improper” behavior a top city official recently informed the FBI of centers on claims City Hall staffer Rana Abbasova tipped colleagues to “delete” their text exchanges hours after the feds raided her New Jersey home, a source close to the investigation into Mayor Eric Adams’ campaign told the Daily News on Monday.
The source, who spoke only under condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the federal probe, said Abbasova’s request that colleagues delete their communications is what Mayor Adams’ personal attorney Boyd Johnson referred to when he said two weeks ago that “ an individual had recently acted improperly” and that the “behavior was immediately and proactively reported to investigators.”
The source described Abbasova’s alleged conversations as part of the reason behind the FBI seizing Mayor Adams’ cell phones on a lower Manhattan street days after the raid.
According to an Adams’ administration official, Abbasova has since been placed on leave.
Exactly who Abbasova reached out to after the raid is unclear. The source who spoke to The News said the colleagues she allegedly contacted handle scheduling and accompany the mayor to events — or “advance” work as its commonly known — but the source didn’t identify them by name.
The federal probe into Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign became public on Nov. 2 after the feds raided the Brooklyn home of Brianna Suggs, a top fund-raiser for Adams’ successful City Hall run. Investigators seized electronic devices and other records from her home, including a folder named “Eric Adams.”
The investigation is focused on whether Adams campaign accepted donations from the Turkish government that were filtered through so-called straw donors, which is illegal.
Adams, Suggs and Abbasova have not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Adams would not directly respond to questions about Abbasova at an unrelated announcement in the East Village on Monday, but reiterated what he described as his commitment to “participate [and] cooperate” with investigators.
“Let the reviewers do their job, and I’m going to do mine,” he said.
The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is involved in leading the investigation, did not immediately return a request for comment. Abbasova did not return calls.
On the same day as the Suggs’ raid, the feds also raided Abbasova’s home and seized her devices, a development first reported by The News.
Abbasova’s time working for Adams goes back to his days as Brooklyn borough president. After ascending to City Hall, she joined the administration to handle advance work for the mayor. According to an online bio, Abbasova works as an international affairs protocol director responsible for “vetting foreign delegations, organizing meetings with foreign delegations for the mayor and [International Affairs Commissioner Ed Mermelstein], and creating events for foreign dignitaries.”
Her bio goes on to state that during her time in Borough Hall she was responsible “for international relations and maintaining relationships between the Borough President and stakeholders, including the Middle East and Central Asian countries, Muslim and Russian-speaking communities.”
It’s unclear what role, if any, Abbasova played on Adams’ 2021 campaign.