Rat-Hating NYC Mayor Fined Over Rats at His Property

Eric Adams appeared before his own employee to contest $330 fine
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2022 1:15 AM CST
NYC Mayor, Who Hates Rats, Is Fighting a Fine for, Yes, Rats
New York City Mayor Eric Adams greets supporters after an event in the Queens Museum in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is a well-known hater of rats. In October, amid rising complaints about rats, the city announced plans to push back the time residents are allowed to put out their garbage bins on trash night in an effort to deter the rodents; just days ago, Adams' administration announced it is looking to hire a rat czar. But Adams himself is now in a fight with City Hall over rats at a Brooklyn property he owns, the New York Times reports. The issue dates back to May, when a health inspector issued Adams a summon for health code violations at the property. "Active rat signs exist in that fresh rat droppings were observed near the meters and near the neighboring staircase," she wrote, resulting in a fine of between $300 and $600 if he was found to be in violation.

Adams, however, failed to respond to the summons or appear at the hearing that was scheduled, so he was found to be in violation by default. Adams had a deputy chief counsel who works in his own office file a motion to vacate the default judgment, arguing that Adams now lives in the mayor's residence in Manhattan and didn't learn about the summons until September. The motion was granted, but Adams still didn't make it to the second hearing on Nov. 10; the same City Hall lawyer appeared to ask for an adjournment because Adams couldn't make the hearing due to "scheduling issues." Finally, on Tuesday, Adams attended a virtual court hearing to contest the $330 fine, CNN reports. He told the hearing officer (who is technically employed by Adams since he is a city employee) he spent $6,800 in March fighting rats at the property.

Some of that money, he said, was spent to use an infamous rat trap that drowns the rodents, and which Adams showed off to reporters in 2019 when he was Brooklyn borough president. He said he'd email an invoice proving how much he's spent on the rat battle. City laws, he said, were "designed to penalize homeowners for failing to take steps to prevent and control rodents," but he himself has taken those steps "and will continue to do so," he said. A verdict is expected within 30 days. "Mayor Adams has made no secret of the fact that he hates rats — whether scurrying around on the streets or terrorizing building tenants,” a spokesperson for the mayor said Tuesday. “He spent thousands of dollars to remediate an infestation at his residence in Brooklyn earlier this year, and was happy to appear ... today to state as much." (Read more Eric Adams stories.)

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