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Foreign Consultant's Disclosure Amended After Revelation of Undisclosed City Hall Meeting | New York Politics Update

Foreign Consultant's Disclosure Amended After Revelation of Undisclosed City Hall Meeting | New York Politics Update

Foreign Consultant Amends Filings After Undisclosed City Hall Meeting Revelation

In the wake of revelations regarding an unreported City Hall meeting, a foreign consultant swiftly amended filings with federal authorities. Ezra Friedlander, whose firm initially failed to disclose a gathering with top officials from Mayor Adams' administration and Azerbaijan's deputy foreign minister, took immediate action upon the exposure.

Last May, Friedlander met with Azerbaijan's deputy foreign minister, Elnur Mammadov, alongside Mayor Adams' international affairs commissioner, Edward Mermelstein, and mayoral staffer Rana Abbasova. Despite initially promoting the gathering on social media, Friedlander and his firm neglected to report it, as required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Acknowledging the oversight, Stuart Weichsel, representing Friedlander's firm, attributed the lapse to administrative error, confirming that an amendment was promptly filed. However, the amended documents were not readily available on FARA's public database.

This undisclosed meeting becomes particularly noteworthy as it transpired mere months before federal investigators raided Abbasova's residence, along with those of Adams' fundraiser Brianna Suggs and Turkish Airlines executive Cenk Öcal, as part of an inquiry into the mayor's connections with Turkey. Notably, Friedlander's firm held contracts with both Azerbaijan and Turkey at the time.

Friedlander clarified that discussions at the meeting revolved around the potential reinstatement of direct flights between New York and Azerbaijan, with no mention of Turkish Airlines during their discourse. Mayor Adams, when queried about the meeting, professed ignorance regarding its content.

Friedlander contends that a pre-meeting video he shared on social media demonstrates transparency, refuting any deliberate attempt at concealment. The unfolding saga underscores the intricacies and scrutiny surrounding foreign relations in New York politics.

In conclusion, the episode surrounding the undisclosed City Hall meeting underscores the complexities and scrutiny surrounding foreign engagements in New York politics. While the consultant swiftly rectified the oversight by amending filings with federal authorities, questions linger about the nature of discussions and the implications of undisclosed interactions, especially in the context of ongoing investigations into ties with foreign entities. As the saga continues to unfold, it highlights the importance of transparency and adherence to regulatory requirements in navigating the intricate landscape of international relations within municipal governance.