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Bernard Adams

The mayor tried to get his younger brother Bernard Adams a cushy six-figure job, only to be foiled by the City’s ethics board—but Bernard’s wife, Sharon, was appointed to a $150,000 job as a “special initiative specialist” at the Department of Education. 


  • NYPD officer, 1986-2006
  • Parking administrator, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Sales associate, LegalShield
  • Special adviser for mayoral security


  • Unknown

Of Eric Adams’s five siblings, the mayor appears to be the closest to Bernard, his younger brother who calls the mayor his “role model” and joked at his election night party that they are “twins separated at birth.” Another similarity:both of them were in the NYPD, Bernard for 20 years (though he doesn’t list his tenure with New York’s Finest on his LinkedIn). Bernard even told the New York Daily News that when he had doubts about his choice to join the NYPD, Eric walked with him on one of his first nights on the beat.

After being elected, Eric compelled Bernard to leave Virginia—where he and his wife, Sharon, moved after Bernard’s 2006 retirement from the NYPD—and his job as a university parking administrator. Back in New York City Eric had a job lined up for his baby bro. 

Days into the mayor’s tenure, the New York Post reported that even before he took office,  the mayor-elect had tapped Bernard to be the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for governmental affairs, which would put him in charge of not only his brother’s security detail, but that of other elected officials. The Post noted that the role typically comes with a cushy annual salary of around $242,000. Shortly after this act of nepotism was publicly revealed, City officials then said that actually, Bernard wasn’t a deputy commissioner, but the NYPD’s “executive director of mayoral security,” and that his salary would be $210,000. 

“Personal security—my life, my life—I want in the hands of my brother with his 20-year law enforcement experience,” the mayor said at the time. “He has the police experience, but he also has the personal experience. He knows his brother, and he’s going to keep his brother safe.”

Unsurprisingly, the City’s Conflicts of Interest Board, whom the mayor had neglected to notify of his intention to appoint his brother, quickly shot that idea down, forcing Bernard to instead take a job as a “special adviser for mayoral security” with a salary of just $1. No City officials would report to him, and he’d have no command over NYPD officers. After about a year of working for his brother, Bernard stepped down.

In an interview with PIX11 News, responding to criticisms that this sequence of events demonstrated “stunning nepotism,” as Reinvent Albany’s John Kaehny put it, Bernard said he didn’t “listen to the noise.” He told PIX11 that he was moving on from his $1-a-year job because he had hand-selected Eric’s security detail andwas satisfied that his brother was in safe hands. Maybe he was just tired. “Working with the mayor is a 24-hour job,” Bernard said. 

End of story, back to Virginia for Bernard, right? Nope. A week after he stepped down, his wife Sharon was appointed to a $150,000 job as a “special initiative specialist” at the Department of Education. On that same day, she left her position as a teacher in the Richmond Public Schools system in Virginia, a job that paid her under $73,000, according to a Richmond official who spoke to the CITY. DOE spokesperson Nathaniel Styer told Chalkbeat Sharon’s new role involved “training and coaching school staff on systems meant to support students academically and emotionally.” 

Styer added that Sharon applied for the job and was interviewed among other candidates, noting that she “exceeds the qualifications for this role, and immediately added value to a critical team that supports schools.”

So, what is Bernard up to these days? It’s unclear (he didn’t respond to our messages, and the DOE didn’t respond to our questions about Sharon) but he has a backup: In Virginia, both he and Sharon got involved with LegalShield, a multilevel marketing company that provides prepaid legal services and identity theft protection. Their performance with LegalShield earned them a spot in the MLM’s “Performance Club,”and in LegalShield’s “BMW Program,” an “incentive program designed to reward associates who continually and consistently produce a quality book of business.” (In the program, one isn’t given a BMW, but rather, a monthly $500  “Performance Club bonus” one can use to buy or lease a BMW.) 

Fabian Taylor, a parking officer supervised by Bernard, told Hell Gate in a phone call that at VCU, Bernard got Taylor involved with LegalShield. “He was an awesome guy. He was an awesome supervisor,” Taylor said. “And that’s why, when he told me about the opportunity with LegalShield, I trusted him. And he was right, it worked out pretty well for us.” 

Taylor told us he couldn’t say how many other people Bernard recruited to LegalShield, but said he “went on a few vacations because of it” and “ended up getting a free BMW out of it.” 

“It was super awesome. He helped me out a lot,” Taylor said. “He let me drive his BMW before I got mine. I can’t say anything bad about him.”

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Last updated: 12/18/2023


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