NYT Raises Doubts About Photo Kept by Mayor

Eric Adams says he's carried picture of fallen officer in wallet; report suggests it was doctored to look old
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2023 3:45 PM CDT
NYT Raises Doubts About Photo Kept by Mayor
New York City Mayor Eric Adams.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

As political controversies go, it's a strange one. The New York Times is calling into question Mayor Eric Adams' claim of carrying around a weathered picture of a friend, a New York City cop who was slain in the line of duty in 1987. Adams publicly talked about the wallet photo of Robert Venable soon after taking office, and the newspaper asked to see it. A week later, Adams posed for a photo holding it up. "But the weathered photo of Officer Venable had not actually spent decades in the mayor's wallet," writes Emma G. Fitzsimmons. "It had been created by employees in the mayor's office in the days after Mr. Adams claimed to have been carrying it in his wallet."

Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper reports that aides found a picture of Venable on the internet, printed it out, then doctored it (including by splashing coffee on it) to make it look older than it was. Mayoral spokesman Fabien Levy did not dispute the allegation that the mayor held up a newly created photograph, per the Times, though he said the mayor had indeed carried around a Venable photograph. "For decades, Mayor Adams has carried a picture of his friend who died in the line of duty, and the Times' efforts to attack the mayor here would be laughable if it were not so utterly offensive," he said, per the New York Post. Levy did not elaborate on questions regarding the apparently doctored photo.

The Times says the incident is another example of Adams fudging the truth and cites a few examples, including his claim that he sold a Brooklyn apartment, which was later refuted by financial disclosure forms. "You don't have to create a photo of a cop and put coffee stains on it," Curtis Sliwa, who ran against Adams in 2021, tells the Post. "Come on." And the Times quotes Betsy Gotbaum of Citizens United wondering why the mayor appears to have stretched the truth here. "He doesn't need to do it, so why does he do it?" (More Eric Adams stories.)

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