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Eric 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.
- DOE teacher and principal
- Founder of a (now-defunct) nonprofit called Fully Persuaded for Children and Families
- The DOE’s senior adviser to the deputy chancellor of school leadership
Maybe opposites do attract—Collins avoids the public eye, so much so that some of Adams’s friends and acquaintances haven’t met her. (“We do everything together,” Adams wrote of Collins, in his 2020 book “Healthy at Last.”) “I’ve never seen her,” a PR exec who “socializes” with Adams told Politico. “I was really surprised to see her there with him,” an unnamed Adams friend told the New York Post when Collins attended the Met Gala with Adams in May of 2022 in a rare public sighting. They continued, “Nobody knows her. She wasn’t there on primary day, she wasn’t there on election day, she wasn’t there the day he got the Brooklyn borough presidency.” (She did, however, attend his swearing-in ceremony.)
For long stretches of time, Adams doesn’t appear to see her, either. While on the campaign trail in 2021, he stated that he had only seen her once in a two-month period, although that might have been to deflect attention away from the persistent question of just where exactly he lived—in Fort Lee, New Jersey, in the co-op he bought with Collins in 2016, or at his Bed-Stuy townhome, or somewhere else in Brooklyn entirely? Adams, for his part, denied cohabitating with Collins in Fort Lee. “How foolish would someone have to be to run to be the mayor of the city of New York and live in another municipality?” Adams said. (Indeed!) “I never hid that I own a co-op in New Jersey with Tracey, but my permanent residence is in Brooklyn,” he added. (If he didn’t live there, however, he certainly was there often, regularly popping into virtual events from that Jersey apartment. E-ZPass documents he shared gave an incomplete record of his travels (sometimes he took the bus) but Politico noted that he “took City cars over the George Washington Bridge or through the Lincoln Tunnel on six separate weekends in July, August, September and October of , as well as once in February .”)
As one veteran City Hall reporter told Hell Gate, “I don’t think anybody understands Eric and Tracey to be in a—it’s like, what’s the word I’m looking for—in a stereotypical monogamous relationship.” (In an interview with HOT97 earlier this year, the mayor said he was “single” but “in a real relationship.”)
The air of mystery extends to the early days of their relationship as well. Adams has refused to say when the two became an item, though by the time Adams became a state senator in 2006, they were fairly enmeshed in each other’s lives, at least professionally—Collins, who during that time period was an elementary school principal as well as the founder of the nonprofit Fully Persuaded for Children and Families, was chair of Adams’s Educational Task Force. Even then, Collins allegedly flew a bit under the radar. (As the Post wrote in 2021, “even a fellow lawmaker who was close to Adams during his years in the state Senate…had no recollection of Collins.”)
By 2008, the two were chummy enough that when Collins self-published “Sweet Promptings,” a self-help book meant to help people cultivate “sweetness, kindness, and compassion,” Adams wrote the introduction. “We commend Tracey Collins for encouraging us to become the best of who we are while investing in the wellbeing of others,” he wrote. And in 2009, Collins returned the favor, writing the foreword for Adams’s own self-published book “Don’t Let It Happen,” a parenting manual which Adams described as a “life saving resource designed to assist parents in detecting when their children may be involved in potentially harmful activities.” In her foreword, Collins wrote, “In the pages to follow, Eric does a wonderful job of sharing the knowledge and experience he gained from a 22 year career in law enforcement.” (Along with extremely detailed descriptions of a variety of illegal drugs, Adams’s guide helpfully tells parents that one way to know their child is in a gang is if they’re “letting everyone know they are in a gang” and if they are “displaying a defiant attitude towards authority figures,” among other warning signs.)
In her nonprofit role and as the head of his taskforce, Collins pushed Adams to propose anti-bullying legislation and embrace “social-emotional learning,” but it was a campaign they both spearheaded in 2010 to “end” the scourge of “the Sagging Pants Culture” afflicting the city’s youth where the two made the biggest media splash.
“This sagging pants culture represents an immature disregard for the basic civility, courtesy, and responsibility that our young men should display,” then-State Senator Adams wrote in a press release, before issuing an exhortation to young men who loved to wear sagging pants: “Have pride in your appearance: if you raise your pants, you’ll also raise your image.”
Fully Persuaded for Children and Families never reported more than $50,000 in annual revenue to the IRS and dissolved in 2015. Notably, in 2012, the group gave the disgraced gubernatorial aide David Johnson a bit of an image rehabilitation boost, graciously allowing Johnson to counsel “at-risk” youth after Johnson allegedly assaulted his girlfriend. (Johnson took a plea deal and avoided prison time.)
Collins’s name came up in a different capacity in 2013. After Adams took a trip to South Korea in 2011 with his fellow state senator, John Sampson, the lawmakers faced calls to reveal who paid for the journeys. One 2013 article noted that Collins—”a Brooklyn woman who does not work for the Senate”—was apparently “reimbursed $1,400 by the Adams campaign for buying his ticket.” (This was a period of epic corruption in Albany. Sampson, who admitted to embezzling around $440,000 from foreclosed homes when he was a court appointed referee, was also convicted of felonies for impeding federal investigations, kicked out of the State Senate, and served almost five years in prison.)
Today, Collins reportedly has no desire to be the unofficial First Lady of New York City. But hey, we get it. She’s already given more than 20 years of her life to the young people of the city, first as a teacher and school principal, and more recently as a DOE administrator. In July 2022, Collins even got a promotion and a more than 20 percent pay raise at the DOE, going from the “senior youth development director” to the “senior adviser to the deputy chancellor of school leadership,” a role that did not exist before David Banks, himself Adams’s good friend, was appointed DOE chancellor by the mayor.
The appearance of nepotism did not sit well with many observers, best encapsulated in the New York Post headline, “NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks, Eric Adams put each other’s girlfriends in top posts.” In response to that Post story, Fabien Levy, Adams’s then-press secretary and current deputy mayor for communications, said it was an example of “sexist rhetoric.” Collins, Levy wrote, “applied for the publicly posted, competitive position and went through a rigorous process that did not include City Hall’s oversight. DOE has made clear that she was, far and away, the most qualified of all applicants for the position, which is why she was the only finalist presented to Chancellor Banks. Once again, it is flat out sexist and vile to suggest an accomplished, highly trained, lifelong public servant was only given this position because of who her long-time partner may be.” He added, “The New York Post owes both women an immediate apology.” We reached out to both the DOE and City Hall for comment, but have yet to hear back.
The mayor, for his part, had this to say: “Tracey’s been a principal. She’s been an administrator, and she’s an excellent educator. She turned around schools. Should she leave the DOE because her boo became mayor? I don’t think so!”
- Check out “Sweet Promptings,” Collins’s 2008 book of inspirational sayings.
- NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks, Eric Adams put each other’s girlfriends in top posts | New York Post
Last updated: 12/18/2023
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Owns a condo in the same Fort Lee, NJ, building as
Got a nice promotion and a pay raise from