NYC Mayor Adams claims ‘no knowledge’ donor is foreign agent

NEW YORK — Mayor Adams said Tuesday he had “no knowledge” that Robin Mui, the executive of a Chinese-owned media company, was a registered foreign agent when he met with top members of Adams’ staff in 2022.

“I had no idea,” Adams said. “When people register under that, it doesn’t mean you can’t speak with them. It doesn’t mean you can’t do interviews with their paper.”

Mui is the CEO of Sing Tao, a Chinese-owned media organization with offices in the city. In 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice forced the paper to register as a foreign agent. Records show that Mui registered as a foreign agent the same year.

People and entities registered as foreign agents must follow strict disclosure requirements under federal law, including the formal disclosure of meetings with public officials. But Mui recently admitted to the New York Daily News that he didn’t inform the federal government that he met in April 2022 with Adams’ advisers Ingrid Lewis-Martin and Winnie Greco, whose Bronx residences were raided by the FBI in February as part of a federal probe.

The investigation is scrutinizing Greco’s role in a possible straw donor scheme and trips Greco and Adams took to China that were partially paid by China’s Communist government, according to sources and reports.

Adams, Greco and Lewis-Martin have not been accused of wrongdoing in connection with the probe — or as part of a separate investigation examining Adams’ ties to the Turkish government.

The news in 2021 that Sing Tao would have to register as a foreign agent was covered in multiple news outlets.

“I know Robin Mui. I know him from the days of Borough Hall,” the mayor said, referring to his previous job as Brooklyn borough president. “I had no knowledge that he registered.”

Adams declined to say whether others in his administration had knowledge of Mui’s registration, and his press team did not immediately respond to a follow-up inquiry about that point.

Mui’s meeting with top Adams aides isn’t his only connection to the mayor.

Between 2015 and 2016, Mui gave $1,250 to Adams’ Brooklyn borough president campaign and another $3,000 to his nascent mayoral bid in 2019 — $1,000 of which was returned due to contribution limits — city records show.