New York mayor Eric Adams wins fight over rat infestations

Last year, the mayor appointed the city’s first ‘rat-czar’ and allocated $3.5m to fight rodents

Michelle Del Rey
Monday 13 November 2023 18:58 GMT
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Eric Adams aiming for ‘more dolphins, fewer rats’ in New York City

New York City Mayor Eric Adams successfully fought a Department of Health citation handed to him by his own government after an inspector claimed they’d found rat burrows and droppings near his Bedford-Stuyvesant townhome in September.

The news was first reported by the New York Post.

Mr Adams was able to convince a judge to throw out the $300 ticket by submitting surveillance footage taken at his property on 15 September at the time of the visit which did not show an inspector at the property, according to court documents reviewed by the outlet.

The inspector claimed to have “observed” the droppings and two “active” rat burrows near his garbage storage area and at the building’s front steps.

It’s the fourth rat-related citation the mayor has been handed since May 2022, the New York Daily News found. A December citation was recently thrown out. During a related hearing, the mayor said he’s spent approximately $7,000 on rat prevention.

In testimony delivered over the phone in October, Mr Adams declared his residence “rat-free”, and blamed his neighbours for the rodents’ presence, saying that the rats had been spotted in their yard, per the Post.

According to the health department’s rat map, rodents were spotted at Mr Adams’ neighbour’s property on Oct 25. Another inspection at Mr Adams’ property that month also found rats were still present. The Independent has reached out to the department for comment.

Reacting to the judge’s decision, a spokesperson for Mr Adams told The Independent, “All New Yorkers are expected to follow health and cleanliness guidelines, and the mayor prides himself on keeping his property clean.

“As we said when the violation was issued, the mayor had clear evidence that no violation occurred at the time of the summons. We are glad the hearing officer agreed with him and promptly dismissed this summons.”

Last year, Mr Adams allocated $3.5m to fight rats across agencies in Harlem, the city’s rat migration zone. He appointed Kathleen Corradi as the city’s first-ever rat czar to reduce rat activity.

“New York City has done a lot recently when it comes to fighting public enemy number one: rats,” the mayor said in a news release. “But it was clear we needed someone solely focused on leading our rat reduction efforts across all five boroughs.”

Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright concurred. “Every New Yorker — regardless of their zip code, income level, or any defining factor — deserves to live in a city free from rats,” she said.

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