Eric Adams, the former Brooklyn Borough President and now the Mayor of New York City, has had close connections with the Hotel Trade Council, a powerful union that represents thousands of hotel workers in the city. Recently, Adams has faced scrutiny over his ties to the union in the wake of reports that a hotel owned by a major Hotel Trade Council donor, the Row NYC hotel, was used to house migrant children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to a report by The Intercept, the Row NYC hotel, located in Times Square, was one of several hotels in the city that housed migrant children who were separated from their families at the border under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The Row NYC is owned by Highgate, a hotel management company that is controlled by the brothers Mahmood and Bahram Shirazi, who are major donors to the Hotel Trade Council’s political action committee.
Adams, who received significant financial support from the Hotel Trade Council during his campaign for mayor, has been a staunch ally of the union and its members. In 2019, he was the keynote speaker at the union’s annual convention, where he praised hotel workers for their contributions to the city’s tourism industry.
Adams has also been an outspoken advocate for immigrants’ rights and has criticized the Trump administration’s immigration policies. In 2018, he joined other elected officials in condemning the separation of migrant families at the border and called for the reunification of children with their parents.
However, some activists and advocates have criticized Adams for not doing enough to hold the Hotel Trade Council accountable for its role in housing migrant children at the Row NYC. In a statement to The Intercept, Adams said that he was “outraged and disgusted” by the reports of the hotel’s use for this purpose and that he would work to ensure that it did not happen again in the future.
The Hotel Trade Council, for its part, has denied any knowledge of the Row NYC’s use for housing migrant children and has said that it did not provide any financial support for this purpose. In a statement to The Intercept, a spokesperson for the union said that it “adamantly opposes any actions that harm or exploit children and will not tolerate any involvement with any organization that engages in such actions.”
As Mayor, Adams will be faced with the challenge of addressing the complex issues surrounding immigration and the role of the Hotel Trade Council in New York City’s hospitality industry. It remains to be seen how he will navigate these challenges and balance the interests of different stakeholders in the city.