Adams says he’ll release taxes, calls reporter ‘arrogant’ for asking

Mayor Eric Adams now says that he initially refused to commit to disclosing his tax returns because a reporter who asked a question on the topic did so “arrogantly” and showed him “disrespect.”

Adams made the comments during an interview with former federal prosecutor Preet Bharara, who asked if the mayor plans to release his tax returns.

The mayor — who last week vowed to release unspecified “tax information” but would not commit to releasing his full returns — replied “yes,” before adding, “I want to make a comment, I don’t like to leave stuff out there.”

“Here’s what I was saying, to the arrogance of the reporter that asked the question and how he asked it,” Adams went on. “So when he said — watch how he asked the question, and the city …”

Bharara, the former Manhattan US Attorney, interjected, “Did I ask it arrogantly?”

“No, you didn’t; you were polite,” Adams replied.

As he has repeatedly since he was first asked about his tax returns, the mayor on Tuesday evening indignantly explained that he’s not legally required to reveal them, while moaning that an unnamed reporter put a question to him on the matter “arrogantly.”

Adams made the new comments during an interview with former federal prosecutor Preet Bharara.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

“The city gave clear rules. This is what we expect of our elected officials, to show that they are transparent. They gave us the rules! My COIB report, my filers — they told us what we have to do,” he said, referring to the city Conflict of Interest Board’s rule that some city workers need to file annual reports on their financial information. 

“I comply every year — every year! So when you arrogantly come to me, because you’re not gonna disrespect me, and ask a question like I gotta answer you yes or no, then you know what you’re gonna get? You’re gonna get a no!” Adams continued.

A City Hall spokesperson previously said that Adams filed for an extension on his taxes, giving him until Oct. 15 to submit his final paperwork to the federal and state authorities.

“I pay a lot of taxes and New York is gonna see how much I pay,” Adams said Tuesday.

A reporter from the Daily News first asked the question of the mayor, with The Post following up on the matter in the same press briefing to try and get a yes or no response out of Adams. Nonprofit news outlet The City and Politico New York have also recently asked the mayor if he will make his tax returns public.

A rep for Adams would not say which reporter Adams believes asked the question “arrogantly.”

Adams’ apparent turnaround on the matter came after he pointedly refused to guarantee that he would reveal his federal and state tax returns when asked on April 15, the traditional tax filing deadline day, indicating he may disrupt decades of pro-transparency precedent set by Big Apple mayors.

When asked during an unrelated press conference ahead of Tax Day if he would commit to providing his taxes, Adams replied, “No, you can’t.”

Asked days later if he would divulge his tax returns, Adams didn’t provide a clear answer, saying, “I may make up my mind.”

Last week, Adams partially reversed course, pledging to later in the year release unspecified “tax information.”

When pressed if he would commit to releasing his actual tax returns, he responded, “I’m going to release tax information.”

During an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, he insisted that he has voiced “no reluctance” about releasing his tax returns and affirmed, “I’m gonna give out my tax information.”

Records show that Mayor Ed Koch released them at least four times, his successor, David Dinkins, released his, as did Dinkins’ successor, Rudy Giuliani. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire when he took office, provided only partial returns, while ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio, returned to the practice of publicly disclosing the complete filings.

The forms could provide a look into Adams’ finances and earnings after those came under scrutiny during the 2021 Democratic mayoral primary campaign, when reporting revealed he failed to properly report rental income.

Also during the Tuesday evening interview with Bharara, Adams promised that he is able to lead efforts to rein in the disordered and dangerous city jail system, after Manhattan federal prosecutors last week threatened to request that Rikers Island be taken over by an independent body.

“I don’t want to be let off the hook. Winners want the ball when the game is on the line,” Adams quipped. “I want the ball in my hands. The US attorney, he did an analysis based on historical problems on Rikers and I respect that. I have no problem with what he said.”

Meanwhile, the commissioner of the city’s Department of Correction on Tuesday appeared before a federal judge and insisted he’s committed to improving conditions at the notorious jail complex.

Mayor Bill DeBlasio
Before Mayor Adams took office, ex-Mayor Bill DeBlasio returned to the practice of publicly disclosing complete tax filings.
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Manhattan federal court Chief Judge Laura Taylor Swain — who ordered the federal monitor overseeing Rikers and City Hall to come up with an “action plan” for implementing changes in the jail system — warned, “I expect real progress.”

Sixteen people died in DOC custody last year — more than in 2019 and 2020 combined and the most fatalities since 2016. The DOC has reported three deaths so far this year at Rikers Island.

Last week, Adams pleaded with New Yorkers to give him a “chance” to fix the dangerous situation at Rikers Island.