If you doubt that it pays to be a close confidant of Mayor Eric Adams, look no further than the city records and documents released on Friday, and you’ll see that the good buddy Adams put in position at the New York City Economic Development Corporation is now among the highest paid public employees in the Big Apple.
Timothy Pearson was already drawing a New York Police Department pension after retiring as a police inspector, and, while the salaries of public employees are generally made public, Adams’ aides refused to disclose what he was earning in his new position.
Turns out, he’s making “only a few hundred dollars less than the chief executive of the agency that pays his salary,” The New York Times reported after filing a Freedom of Information Act request.
“Andrew Kimball, the president and chief executive officer of the economic development corporation, who earlier also declined to answer questions about Mr. Pearson’s salary, earns $243,170, the records show, slightly more than Mr. Pearson’s salary of $242,600,” The Times revealed.
To put the six-figure salary into perspective, Adams’ salary as mayor is roughly $258,000 and his deputy mayors make $252,000, according to City Hall.
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Because he already receives a city pension, Pearson shouldn’t be allowed to simultaneously draw a city salary — it’s against New York state law. But Pearson got around the law, continuing to collect his $124,000 NYPD pension because the development corporation is a non-profit that Adams controls.
And lest there be any question as to Adams’ relationship with Pearson, The Times writes: “Mr. Pearson, who was among a small group onstage with Mr. Adams when he was sworn in on New Year’s Eve in Times Square, served on the police force with the mayor and is one of Mr. Adams’s closest confidants.”
What’s more, Pearson was formerly employed by the Resorts World Casino at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. The casino is currently vying for one of the three coveted new full-scale casino licenses. Securing one of those means the casino can expand into full-service amenities and table games, rather than being restricted to just electronic games. It’s big money, and as The Times noted, “City support could help boost that effort.”
On June 1, one day after starting his new job at the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Pearson penned a handwritten request to hold a second job, which the EDC approved on July 28 “on the conditions that he not use city time or resources for his casino job or disclose any confidential information.”
The Times first reported that Pearson was collecting his police pension, working for the city, and employed by the private casino company all at the same time back in August. Following the outlet’s initial report, Pearson and the casino “parted ways.”
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“In his request to keep his casino job, Mr. Pearson estimated that he was earning $100 an hour at Resorts World, and said he would work there in his off hours, primarily nights and weekends,” The Times now reports. “He did not indicate whether he was paid an annual salary or on an hourly basis.”
The details of Pearson’s employment once again shine a spotlight on Mayor Adams’ “recurring ethical and accountability issues over his hiring practices, residency, and even his eating habits as a self-proclaimed vegan,” The Times stated, adding that Adams “eats fish, too.”
The outlet points to several examples of Adams’ questionable actions, including the hiring of his brother to head up his security team, his appointment of “a former police official who was an unindicted co-conspirator in a public corruption case to become deputy mayor,” and claims Adams’ “loyalists are rewarded.”
For his loyalty, Pearson now holds the title of senior adviser to the mayor for public safety and Covid recovery, according to city officials.
John Kaehny is the executive director of a “good-government group,” Reinvent Albany. He says Adams is “making a mockery” of things.
“What the mayor is doing is making a mockery out of hiring based on professional qualification and expertise,” he stated. “And this is patronage and cronyism and it undermines the professionalism of city government.”
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