New York City Mayor Eric Adams was fined in May 2022, it was recently revealed, after health inspectors found “fresh rat droppings” at his Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York, townhouse earlier this year. Boston.com reports that Adams was issued a $300 fine after ignoring a summons and is now fighting the fine in administrative court.
Adams allegedly told a hearing officer that he has spent approximately $7,000 in attempting to fight off the rodents, even using a trap he promoted in 2019 that lures rats in with food before incapacitating them with a deadly solution. At the time, Adams called it a "cost-effective, humane treatment" to kill rats.
The mayor argued that fines are intended to be reserved for residents who ignore their infestation or otherwise do not attempt to get rid of the problem, something he says he is not guilty of, claiming he took steps to prevent and control the issue.
“I took those steps,” Adams said, “and will continue to do so.”
An alleged "government watchdog group" took issue with the apparent use of a city lawyer in Adams' case. Betsy Gotbaum, executive director of the Citizens Union, alleges it to be an improper use of a City Hall employee.
“City resources should be used for city business, not the personal affairs of the mayor or any other elected official,” the union official stated, adding that the mayor is using a City Hall employee to help him with an issue that is "clearly a private legal manner.”
The mayor's press secretary justified the use of the lawyer, once again citing Adams' attempts to quell the rodent problem with his own money.
"He spent thousands of dollars to remediate an infestation at his residence in Brooklyn earlier this year," said Fabien Levy on behalf of Adams. The spokesperson also commented that the mayor was happy to appear before the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings for this issue.
The timing of this legal undertaking is certainly interesting, given that it comes just a week after New York City posted a job listing offering a salary of upwards of $170,000 for a "highly motivated and somewhat bloodthirsty" candidate to take on the city's rat infestation.
The hearing officer for Mayor Adams' case said he will render a verdict on the issue within 30 days.