NYC Mayor Adams' campaign supporters fined in straw donor scheme

NEW YORK — Two owners of a Queens construction firm were sentenced Tuesday for their roles in a straw donor scheme to boost Mayor Eric Adams’ 2021 campaign war chest with cash from the city’s public matching funds program.

Per the terms of their plea deals reached late last year, brothers Shahid Mushtaq and Yahya Mushtaq from the EcoSafety Consultants firm each paid $500 in fines and completed 35 hours of community service before appearing in Manhattan Supreme Court. They pleaded guilty to fifth-degree conspiracy in October in a deferred prosecution agreement and are cooperating in a straw donor investigation by the Manhattan district attorney.

“The case has reached its conclusion, and my clients are happy to get this behind them and to move forward with their life and provide for their family and going back to what they need to do,” said Scott Grauman, an attorney for the Mushtaqs, who declined to speak about their ongoing cooperation.

A spokeswoman for Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg declined to comment.

The brothers and several others were indicted for the scheme last year, including Dwayne Montgomery, a former NYPD inspector who served alongside Adams in the Police Department and has maintained a friendship with him.

Montgomery pleaded guilty to charges last month, admitting he conspired with the Mushtaq brothers and five other men between August 2020 and November 2021 to make and facilitate illegal contributions to Adams’ 2021 City Hall run.

Adams has not been accused of wrongdoing in the case and has said his 2021 campaign returned donations identified as illegal by the DA.

By making dozens of contributions to Adams in the names of people unaware their identities were being used — known as “straw donors” — the group circumvented limits on how much money they could contribute to Adams.

According to prosecutors, the Mushtaqs hoped that funneling the illicit cash to Adams would secure them lucrative city contracts and otherwise favorable treatment from the mayor once he took office.