Swipe to see connections

Sheena Wright

The nonprofit professional (with a somewhat checkered past) is quickly rising through the ranks at City Hall.


  • Associate, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  • Associate, Reboul, MacMurray, Hewitt, Maynard & Kristol
  • Executive director and CEO, Abyssinian Development Corporation
  • President  and CEO, United Way of New York City
  • Deputy Mayor of Strategic Initiatives, New York City


  •  First Deputy Mayor, New York City

When Eric Adams holds his now-weekly off-topic press appearances, he likes to trot out an unfathomably large group of his deputy mayors and City Hall officials, who tend to just sit there stoically as he answers questions. Often to his right is his highest-ranking deputy mayor, Sheena Wright, who brings years of experience leading nonprofits to City Hall, and who had spearheaded Adams’s transition planning. (Wright also earns more than the mayor.) 

In announcing her promotion to first deputy mayor after a year as deputy mayor of strategic initiatives, City Hall noted that Wright co-managed a project that helped nonprofits actually get paid on time by the City. A Columbia graduate and lawyer who has landed on lists of top nonprofit leaders in the city, Wright seems perfectly qualified for the position of helping to oversee a sprawling City government that relies on thousands of contractors to deliver services to residents, and to manage all of Adams’s many other deputy mayors. 

Well, that’s if you forget about the alleged nonprofit mismanagement and that one assault arrest that may have been voided with the help of her now-fiancé’s brother (who also happens to be the deputy mayor for public safety; the current schools chancellor is her fiancé). 

Where to begin? Back in 2013, Wright was one of the subjects of a sprawling Village Voice investigation that looked into possible financial mismanagement at the Abyssinian Development Corporation (ADC), an ostensibly nonprofit community development organization connected to the powerful Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, where Wright worked from 2002 to 2012. In 2013, Wright was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors over whether ADC had bought a Harlem brownstone from the federal government on the cheap, one that came with income restrictions on who ADC could then sell it to. But ADC sold the brownstone to the wealthy son of former NBA players’ union head Billy Hunter, turning a healthy profit on the property. (No charges were brought against Wright related to the subpoena).

At the same time, ADC’s leaders, including Wright, were taking lavish trips on the company dime. “The vacations would be very elaborate with maids and butlers and cars,” a former ADC employee told the Village Voice, describing work retreats to Martha’s Vineyard. “They would go under the guise of business conferences, and then just swim and go diving or parasail.”

The Village Voice reported that, according to former employees, as CEO, Wright “hired unqualified cronies for senior jobs, including a high school classmate and her former hairdresser, whom she employed as a special assistant” (hmm, who does that sound like) and that Wright “was behind the expensive junkets.”

Wright said in a statement to the Voice that investors at ADC “knew their dollars were being used wisely, efficiently, and effectively.”

Wright left ADC in 2012 to run the United Way NYC, a position that ADC “insiders” told the Village Voice that Abyssinian’s Rev. Calvin O. Butts III secured for her. It was during her time at the United Way that Wright had a run-in with the law. During the morning of January 6, 2013, Wright was arrested for fighting with her estranged then-husband in their Harlem home, which they were sharing post-separation. Wright was then arrested a second time later that day, after she allegedly drilled through the lock on her husband’s 68-year-old mother’s door and attacked her. 

But charges against Wright were voided when Philip Banks, then the chief of community affairs at the NYPD and the brother of her then-good friend (and love interest) David Banks, intervened. Philip reached out to the commander of the precinct where Wright was arrested, and the arrest was soon deemed invalid. 

City Hall did not respond to a request for comment about Wright.

But in an earlier statement to The CITY, Wright said, “In granting an order of protection against my ex-husband and demanding that he be removed from my home, it is clear that he was the aggressor and needed to be forcefully removed.”

While Wright has allies in the Banks brothers in City Hall, she reportedly has at least one powerful antagonist—Adams’s chief adviser, Ingrid Lewis-Martin. The New York Times reported that Lewis-Martin is “bitter rivals” with Wright, and that Wright pushed Adams not to hire Lewis-Martin during his transition to City Hall. When Adams tried to get them to reconcile, the Times reported, Lewis-Martin apparently told Wright to stay out of her way. Both denied there was any beef there, with Wright telling the Times that “Ingrid and I really do work well together, and I appreciate her leadership and partnership.” Lewis-Martin, however, notably skipped the press conference introducing Wright as first deputy mayor

Last year, David Banks and Wright got engaged. They went on vacation together to Martha’s Vineyard this summer as the City struggled to find shelter for thousands of arriving migrants, a trip slammed by the New York Post editorial board. This first deputy mayor will simply not stop taking shit for taking some hard-earned vacations!

Last updated: 12/18/2023



David Banks

One of the Banks brothers, now finds himself at the top of a teetering schools system. 

Future brother-in-law

Philip Banks III

From unindicted co-conspirator in a federal corruption case to Mayor Adams's deputy mayor for public safety in less than a decade.

Possible enemy

Ingrid Lewis-Martin

Already a legendary and uniquely powerful force within the Adams administration, the mayor's most fiercely loyal deputy stares down a federal investigation into her boss' campaign.

David Banks

One of the Banks brothers, now finds himself at the top of a teetering schools system. 

Philip Banks III

From unindicted co-conspirator in a federal corruption case to Mayor Adams's deputy mayor for public safety in less than a decade.

Ingrid Lewis-Martin

Already a legendary and uniquely powerful force within the Adams administration, the mayor's most fiercely loyal deputy stares down a federal investigation into her boss' campaign.

Rana Abbasova

Abbasova's job is to keep City Hall friendly with foreign governments. And maybe...they all became a little too friendly.

Brendan McGuire

When it comes to fending off a public corruption case, it doesn’t hurt to have a lawyer who has friends in the Southern District.

Max Young

Adams's comms director left the administration to work for Pfizer, but will he come back to help his old boss win reelection in 2025?

Peter Koo

Senior advisor to the Deputy Mayor of Public Safety. What does that even mean, man?

Rachel Atcheson

A nice vegan caught up in a nasty campaign finance scandal.

Timothy Pearson

Timothy Pearson is Mayor Adams’s right-hand man—a hand that, at least once, curled into a fist.

Denise Felipe-Adams

An enthusiastic Adams loyalist dipping her toes into crypto.

Louis Molina

As Correction commissioner, he stymied jail oversight and presided over dozens of deaths of people in custody.

Ydanis Rodriguez

A ride-or-die Eric Adams campaign surrogate scored a powerful post overseeing NYC's streets, but so far that has meant taking a back seat to the mayor's bureaucrats.

Tiffany Raspberry

A lobbyist and long-time friend now has a lot of power in City Hall—and she's not afraid to use it.

Eric Ulrich

Gambling, tow trucks, pizza: the Manhattan DA's indictment against Adams's former building commissioner has it all.

Fabien Levy

Levy has risen in influence as his colleagues in the City Hall press shop have departed, and the deputy mayor runs interference for the mayor in his dealings with the press.

Bernard Adams

Younger brother Bernard Adams couldn't make it past the City's ethics board—but his wife, Sharon, sure did.

Frank Carone

New York City's short king is the most connected man in town.

Winnie Greco

Winnie Greco connected the Chinese business community to the future mayor. In return, he promised to build an arch.

Jacqui Williams

"Real estate is not to be toyed with here."

Marc Holliday

When you want to build a casino in Times Square, you hire the mayor's former chief of staff and host parties with Cara Delevingne.

John Chell

Shot a man to death in 2008, now in charge of the largest bureau in the NYPD.

Vito Pitta

The grandson of a hotel union boss whose family law firm is heading Adams's legal defense fund.

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Bichotte Hermelyn is helping to stifle progressives at every turn, just how Eric Adams likes it. 

Evan Thies

A political consultant and one of the main architects of Adams's mayoral election, whom Adams described as "the man that captured my voice" and "my brother."

Brianna Suggs

Eric Adams hired her when she was 19. Six and a half years and millions of dollars in mayoral campaign fundraising later, the FBI raided her apartment.

Dwayne Montgomery

An old friend the mayor doesn't care to claim, indicted in a straw donor scheme.

Kaz Daughtry

Jeffrey Maddrey's hands-on protégé, now NYPD drone champion.

Edward Caban

The Adams administration's second police commissioner is a team player and a Masonic brother.

Lisa White

Eric Adams's former roommate (or is it landlord?) in charge of NYPD officer morale—too bad she tanks it.

Jeffrey Maddrey

The top uniformed cop in the NYPD, despite a wild history of disciplinary charges.

Sylvia Cowan

Former girlfriend with whom he still owns an apartment.

Tracey Collins

Adams's longtime girlfriend, who lives in Fort Lee, New Jersey, is rarely seen in his presence, and got a cushy promotion and a big raise after he became mayor.

Jenifer Rajkumar

Adams has called her a "beast." She thinks he's “the GOAT." 

Bishop Lamor Whitehead

The "Bling Bishop" and Eric Adams apparently don't speak anymore, but both say that God is on their side.


Jay-Z is a billionaire who wants things billionaires want—like a license to build a casino.

Eleonora Srugo

This high-powered real estate agent can be found at Casa Cipriani or Gracie Mansion.

Jordan Coleman

Eric Adams's literal son.

Robert and Zhan Petrosyants

Fun-loving twins who play host to the mayor at their trendy Italian eatery.

Billy Bildstein

The owner of Avant Gardner and Brooklyn Mirage fought the SLA and won (with help from powerful friends).

Scott Sartiano

How did the owner of Zero Bond score a seat on the Met's board? Probably not based on his resume, which we got our hands on.

Steve Cohen

Steve Cohen wants two things—a Mets championship and a casino. Eric Adams can only really help him with one of those.

Tony Argento

New York City's homegrown film studio mogul is a Gotham power broker out of central casting.

Michael Mazzio

Michael Mazzio found himself getting shut out of the lucrative tow truck industry—until he found a friendly ear in City Hall.

Rich Maroko

The head of the Hotel and Gaming Trades Council bet big on Eric Adams becoming mayor. Will it pay off?

Brock Pierce

Crypto-enthusiast who says he's advising Adams on "all things crypto."

Victoria Schneps-Yunis

Queens newspaper magnate whose own rise mirrors that of Adams.

Douglas Durst

Real estate titan who wants to weaken New York City's climate laws.