Adams now says he will release his tax returns

Mayor Adams said he will make his tax returns public, after more than a week of noncommittal responses that have sparked criticism.

During the taping for a podcast hosted by former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Adams was asked directly whether he would disclose his tax returns upon filing them.

“Yes, yes,” the mayor replied. “I pay a lot of taxes and New Yorkers are going to see how much I pay.”

His answer before a live audience at Cooper Union was his most definitive yet on the subject, capping a week and a half of vague responses. Elected officials are not legally required to share their filings but mayors have traditionally provided at least redacted versions for the public to view. Adams was scrutinized during the campaign for omitting rental income on his tax filings amid larger questions about his home address.

The controversy erupted most recently on April 15th when he refused to commit to releasing his tax returns when asked by reporters. Days later, when asked again if he would release his returns, Adams said only that he would release “tax information.”

All New York City elected officials must file financial disclosure forms with the Conflicts of Interest Board, but the form asks respondents to check off only broad ranges on income and investments.

Speaking with Bharara, Adams blamed his noncommittal answer “to the arrogance of the reporter that asked the question.”

During the unrelated April 15th press conference, a reporter for the New York Post had followed up on a prior question on whether the mayor would release his taxes. Adams had said only that he intended to comply with “whatever rules are in place.”

“Mike asked if you would release your taxes, but I didn’t hear a hard yes or no,” the reporter said. “Mayor de Blasio released his taxes every year. Can we get a firm commitment from you that you’ll do the same?”

“No, you can’t,” Adams replied. “What’s your second question?”

On Monday, the mayor recounted that exchange by telling Bharara, “When you arrogantly come to me — because you’re not going to disrespect me — and ask a question like I got to answer ‘yes or no,’ do you know what you’re gonna get? You’re gonna get a no.”

Although Adams has called himself thick-skinned when it comes to criticism, he has at times pushed back on the press.

Earlier this month, Politico reported that he instructed city agencies to send him all their public communications for approval before releasing them, saying he was dealing with a “gotcha” press corps.

He repeated that complaint during his interview with Bharara when the so-called Fishgate controversy came up. The self-professed vegan mayor has ordered fish on occasion, although City Hall initially denied the report.

“Why have we become a place of ‘I gotcha’ instead of a place ‘I got you’?” he asked.

The deadline to submit 2021 tax filings to the Internal Revenue Service was April 18th. However, Adams has requested an extension, according to his spokesperson Fabien Levy. That gives him until October 15th to submit his returns.

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