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What’s a nice vegan like you doing in a campaign finance scandal like this?
- Corralling student organizers for anti-factory farming nonprofit the Humane League
- Community liaison, Mayor Bill de Blasio
- Deputy strategist, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
- Constituencies Organizer, Eric Adams 2021
- Senior Assistant, Mayor Eric Adams
- Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy
- Straight edge
Rachel Atcheson started her time in the Adams administration as the mayor’s body person. A trusty and decidedly plant-based confidant, she’s been with Eric Adams since 2018, when she joined his Brooklyn borough presidency team as a deputy strategist. Following a stint in 2021 as a constituencies organizer for his mayoral campaign, Atcheson joined City Hall as his senior assistant once he took office.
“I love working for [Eric Adams]. He’s a total delight,” Atcheson said in a 2019 interview. “He’s a mentor.”
But her work fundraising for the Adams campaign has catapulted Atcheson from former body person to person who might know where some of the mayor’s metaphorical bodies are hidden. In July, a court filing obtained by the New York Daily News revealed that Atcheson was the previously unnamed campaign staffer referenced in the Manhattan district attorney’s indictment of six Adams campaign contributors who allegedly participated in a straw donor scheme.
In August 2020, the indictment alleges, Atcheson received an email from purported ringleader and retired NYPD Deputy Inspector Dwayne Montgomery. Attached to the email was a receipt from an alleged straw donor and instructions to attribute that donation to Montgomery and another individual. (Montgomery has pleaded not guilty to all charges.) That same month, per the indictment, Atcheson helped Montgomery organize a fundraiser for Adams. Notably, Atcheson—and her big boss Adams—have not been accused of wrongdoing in the indictment.
Atcheson and the mayor connected over their shared passion for plant-based meals and “lifestyle medicine” while she worked as a community liaison for former Mayor Bill de Blasio. In 2019, while she was still part of de Blasio’s office, Atcheson worked with then-borough prez Adams to bring his “Meatless Mondays” program citywide. In 2020, Adams published “Healthy At Last,” a memoir-slash-cookbook centered around dietary changes that he claims reversed his Type II diabetes, including temporary blindness in his left eye—and thanked Atcheson for helping him work on the book in its acknowledgements section.
The dedicated straight edge vegan with a penchant for surrealist home decor spent her earlier days in the Adams administration handling Hizzoner’s smoothies, keeping him on schedule during his extra-long workdays (she was reportedly on duty weekdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.), and snapping an Instagram highlight reel’s worth of videos of him flashing his kilowatt smile at events across the city—like right at the end of this beach photoshoot.
In June, about a month before her involvement in the alleged straw donor scheme was revealed, Atcheson was promoted to a new role as deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy. There, she helped expand lifestyle medicine programs in New York City’s hospitals and served New York City’s public school students meals that some people would hesitate to put in front of a dog. (Atcheson has apparently never publicly commented on the fact that her proudly plant-based boss admitted, under duress, that he sometimes eats fish.) City Hall did not respond to a request for comment about Atcheson.
- Straw donors and campaign rep for Adams’ 2021 mayoral run identified in new Manhattan DA records | New York Daily News
- A probe into illegal donors for Mayor Adams touches a key member of his inner circle: the body person | Gothamist
- RACHEL ATCHESON: Deputy Strategist for Brooklyn’s Borough President | OG Talk NYC
- Are You Even a Power Couple If You’re Not Somehow Involved in a Straw Donor Scheme | Hell Gate
- Catch Rachel on Instagram and X (FKA Twitter).
Last updated: 12/18/2023
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Worked under Adams at Borough Hall with