Mayor Adams commits to releasing ‘tax information,’ but not full returns

Mayor Eric Adams announcing Staten Island rooftop farm to grow fresh produce and absorb stormwater. Tuesday, April 19, 2022.
Photo courtesy of NYC Mayor’s Office

After refusing to commit to releasing his tax returns last week, Mayor Eric Adams Tuesday inched closer to financial transparency by saying he would release “tax information,” but stopped short of pledging to release his full returns.

“​​We’re going to release tax information, no hesitation,” Adams said. “Now, remember, I’m not required. We know that right? So let’s be clear on that. So let’s not give the impression that I’m required. I’m not required. But we’ll release tax information.”

Adams made the pledge in response to a reporter’s question at an unrelated press conference Tuesday, after he wouldn’t commit to releasing his tax returns when asked about it on more than one occasion last week ahead of the April 18 tax filing deadline. During a Friday press conference, Adams said he would comply with required annual disclosures with the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board.

“I will comply with whatever rules are in place,” Adams added. “You know, we do our disclosure also, I think that’s sometime in May. So, whatever rules are in place to ensure transparency for those who are in public office, I am going to comply 100 percent.”

The mayor, however, refused to specify what tax information he’ll be releasing when pressed by more than one reporter for an answer. Adams’ spokesperson Fabien Levy also declined to provide any further details when PoliticsNY reached out to the mayor’s office following the press conference – referring a reporter back to the mayor’s earlier comments.

“We don’t have more to add on that at this time,” Levy said.

According to a published report, Levy told The New York Times that the mayor filed for an extension on his taxes after testing positive for COVID-19 at the start of last week. Adams paid his estimated taxes Monday and the extension would allow him to file up until Oc. 15.

While – as Adams pointed out – he’s not legally required to release his tax returns, there’s a longstanding tradition of mayors making their full returns public.

The last five mayors before Adams – Bill de Blasio, Michael Bloomberg, Rudy Giuliani, David Dinkins and Ed Koch – all released their tax returns.

This follows former President Donald Trump not releasing his tax returns during both of his presidential campaigns and his four years in the White House, breaking with a 40-year tradition of president’s releasing their taxes.

In a published report, Susan Lerner – executive director of the watchdog group Common Cause New York – criticized the mayor for not being more transparent about his finances.

“This is not a gotcha question from the press — this is the sort of thing that real people on the street pay attention to,” Lerner said. “The mayor shouldn’t be playing cat and mouse with something that should be an obvious transparency measure.”