Adams delays naming Banks deputy mayor over ties to NYPD scandal

Mayor-elect Eric Adams’ transition team is delaying the appointment of former NYPD Chief Philip Banks III to be deputy mayor for public safety over his ties to a corruption scandal involving cops and hookers, a source briefed on the matter told The Post on Friday.

“They’re dragging their feet because they know it’s a problem and they’re trying to figure out how to make it not a problem,” the source said.

A second source familiar with the situation confirmed that Banks’ appointment had been postponed but didn’t tie it to his controversial past.

Banks was never charged but was named one of several unindicted co-conspirators in a bribery scheme orchestrated by two fundraisers for outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio, Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg.

The duo lavished gifts on high-ranking cops that included jewelry, vacations and hookers in exchange for official favors.

Adams, a former NYPD captain, tapped Banks to advise him on law-enforcement issues even before winning the election, The Post revealed in September, and also had him helm the search that led to the selection of Keechant Sewell as the city’s next police commissioner.

Adams has repeatedly said he wants Banks to be a part of his administration, and the former top chief has been working out of an office in One Police Plaza, sources said earlier this month.

Adams’ spokesman didn’t deny that Banks’ appointment to the city’s public-safety agency was being held up when asked by The Post.

“The Adams Transition has announced more than a dozen major appointments over the last two weeks and will continue to make many more next week,” spokesman Evan Thies said.

Mayor-elect Eric Adams’ transition team is delaying the appointment of former NYPD Chief Philip Banks III to be deputy mayor for public safety.
David McGlynn

Banks declined comment to The Post.

The postponement in naming Banks as deputy mayor was first reported by the New York Times.

In 2014, Banks, then the NYPD’s chief of department, stunned the city when he abruptly turned down a promotion to first deputy commissioner and retired, saying that the new job would have taken him away from “the police work and operations that I love so much.”

The Post later revealed that the move came amid an FBI probe into “an inordinate amount of cash” he’d amassed and one day after a federal judge approved a wiretap on his cellphone.

Banks’ and other cops’ relationships with Rechnitz and Reichberg came under scrutiny as the feds investigated whether the businessmen doled out gifts and foreign trips in exchange for favors.

Former NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, who was Banks’ right-hand man, struck a plea bargain and avoided serving any time. Former Deputy Inspector James Grant was acquitted of all charges.

Rechnitz cut a cooperation deal with federal prosecutors and was sentenced to 10 months in prison.

Reichberg was convicted at trial and sentenced to four years but was released early last year on a medical furlough after contracting COVID-19 at the upstate Otisville Federal Correctional Institution.

-Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy