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Dwayne Montgomery

Dwayne Montgomery is an old friend the mayor doesn’t care to claim after the retired cop was indicted in a straw donor scheme connected to the Adams mayoral campaign.


Formerly

  • NYPD Deputy Inspector
  • CEO, Overwatch Services LLC
  • Director of Integrity, Teamsters Local 237

Currently

  • Unemployed
  • Indicted

Dwayne Montgomery and Eric Adams, whose careers overlapped at the NYPD, have known each other for a while. Case in point: In April 2014, the then-Brooklyn borough president attended a birthday party for Montgomery at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem, and the former colleagues appear together in two photos from the evening. In one, Adams and Montgomery stand side by side, between two women dressed in formalwear. In the other, Montgomery squats, grinning, in front of a group of party attendees—including a smiling Adams, who is resting a friendly hand on the birthday boy’s shoulder.

These days, the mayor is less inclined to count Montgomery as a friend.The ex-cop is facing up to four years in prison after being indicted by the Manhattan district attorney’s office in July for allegedly spearheading a straw donor scheme in support of Adams’s 2021 mayoral campaign. (Adams is not facing any charges relating to alleged campaign fraud.)  

At a July press conference, Adams distanced himself from Montgomery, telling reporters that the latter has never been to City Hall but noting that “we all knew each other” as Black NYPD officers. “As a ranking member, you would know the other ranking members of color, there wasn’t many,” he said. He described Montgomery as “very well-known in Harlem.” 

Adams’s campaign spokesperson Evan Thies, however, told Hell Gate that “Montgomery was a colleague of the mayor in the police department whom he knew socially and worked on criminal justice issues with.” City Hall confirmed that Montgomery attended two events at Gracie Mansion after Adams became mayor: a Mid-Autumn festival in September 2022 and a Cannabis Chamber of Commerce event two months later. Adams also told reporters he remembered seeing Montgomery “from the stage” at a Black History Month reception. 

In a 2006 profile, Montgomery told a New York Amsterdam News reporter that he joined the police department in 1981 because he was curious to see whether he could pass the entrance exam. Twenty-five years later, Montgomery said that he was more than satisfied with his work—he’d just been promoted to the rank of deputy inspector and became the commanding officer of the 28th Precinct in his native Harlem. “I don’t want to retire from something I love doing,” he said of policing. “I’m going to retire to do what, be bored?” 

He loved the job, despite the fact that it seemed to involve repeatedly violating the civil rights of residents in the neighborhood where he grew up. While in charge of the 28th Precinct, Montgomery was named in three different lawsuits related to unlawful searches, all of which ended in settlements paid out by the City—one for $25,000 in 2006 and another for $40,000 in 2008

In the third, Montgomery and eight other police officers were accused of entering an apartment without a warrant or probable cause and then arresting two women, one who was in her underwear and one who was naked; the suit states the officers handcuffed the complainants and refused to let them get dressed for at least 20 minutes. Later, a notice of claim alleged that officers falsely claimed they found crack cocaine in the apartment, but the district attorney failed to produce a lab report to support that claim. In 2009, after that alleged incident, Montgomery left the NYPD, and the City settled a suit with one of the women in 2010 for an undisclosed sum.

Before he hung up his badge, the New York Daily News reported that Montgomery managed to attend Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration in Washington, D.C., a trip organized by Adams’s close friend and a fellow Black NYPD officer, Tim Pearson. In 2013, Montgomery testified—alongside Eric Adams—about the department’s racist Bloomberg-era stop-and-frisk practices in the landmark federal class action suit that put the NYPD under a consent decree. During his testimony, he admitted that he instituted arrest quotas in his precinct after discussion with then-Chief of Department Joseph Esposito and punished cops under his command who failed to meet them. 

It’s a little confusing what, exactly, Montgomery did after leaving the job he said he loved doing. Public records link Montgomery to multiple companies. One, M&M Property Holdings, has barely filed paperwork with the state of New York in more than a decade. At the end of 2015, he sold Overwatch Services LLC, a company that now operates under the name City Safe Partners and is a security contractor for the MTA, to Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III—who, like Adams, overlapped with Montgomery as an NYPD officer. (Banks, however, didn’t finish paying him until 2016, according to a Hell Gate report, and failed to disclose his connections to the company on mandatory ethics filings when he joined the Adams administration.) The New York Times reported that in 2022, Montgomery co-founded another company, Public Safety Reimagined, while concurrently serving as the director of integrity for Teamsters Local 237, a union for City employees who work on Long Island. 

Montgomery was suspended from the latter role after he was named in a July 2023 indictment from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, charging him and five other people with running a straw donor scheme: rounding up fake donations for Eric Adams’s 2021 mayoral campaign in order to secure matching funds from the City’s Campaign Finance Board. (When reached for comment, the union told Hell Gate that Montgomery is no longer an employee of Local 237.) According to the indictment, Montgomery, alongside alleged co-conspirators Shamsuddin Riza, Millicent Redick, Ronald Peek, Yahya Mushtaq, Shahid Mushtaq, and a company called Ecosafety Consultants Inc., recruited at least 29 straw donors to pledge a total of $6,400 in small donations to the Adams campaign, which would have netted the campaign around $50,000 in CFB money thanks to the City’s eight-to-one donation matching program. 

According to the indictment, Montgomery purchased money orders and sent payments via CashApp and Zelle to the fraudulent donors, who then dumped those funds back into Adams campaign coffers. He also set up an August 2020 virtual fundraiser for the campaign with an unindicted campaign operative, later revealed to be Adams’s body person at the time, Rachel Atcheson (whom he later emailed a straw donor’s donation receipt, asking to be “credited for the contribution.”) Atcheson has not been accused of wrongdoing; City Hall and the Adams campaign did not respond to a request for comment. Over the course of the scheme, Montgomery represented himself as someone with insight into what Adams wanted—or, at least, what he’d bother to show up for. In July 2021, the indictment notes that Montgomery told his alleged co-conspirator Riza on the phone that Adams “said he doesn’t want to do anything,” fundraiser-wise, “if he doesn’t get 25 Gs.”

Montgomery is the only defendant in the indictment attached to every single charge: conspiracy in the fifth degree, attempted grand larceny in the third degree, 19 counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, and six counts of attempted offering a false instrument in the first degree—all charges to which he’s pleaded not guilty. Only two of the other defendants—brothers Shahid and Yahya Mushtaq—have entered guilty pleas connected to the scheme.

Montgomery’s lawyer did not respond to requests for comment on the status of Montgomery’s case or his relationship with the mayor.


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Last updated: 12/18/2023

 

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