Texts show how NYC Mayor Adams tried to pacify ‘Bling Bishop’ Lamor Whitehead in feud with top adviser

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For years, Mayor Adams went to extraordinary lengths to privately pacify Lamor Whitehead, as the ex-con-turned-pastor picked fights with his top adviser, Ingrid Lewis-Martin, and pressed him for financial and political help, a trove of text messages exchanged between the two men reveal.

The texts were seized by federal prosecutors as part of their case against Whitehead, a self-described Adams mentee who was convicted in March on charges that he defrauded several people and banks, including by falsely telling a businessman in 2022 the mayor could secure government favors for them. The mayor wasn’t accused of wrongdoing in the case.

The texts, which span from 2016 through 2022, were referenced during Whitehead’s trial, but most of them have never been previously reported. The Daily News this week obtained the full 67-page cache of texts seized by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, which prosecuted Whitehead.

Text messages between Mayor Eric Adams and Lamar Whitehead.

The messages show how Adams was willing to even criticize Lewis-Martin, his trusted chief adviser at City Hall, in a bid to calm Whitehead down.

“The two of you have anger management issues and need to grow up,” Adams texted Whitehead on Aug. 30, 2018, referring to him and Lewis-Martin. “The reason you two don’t get along is because you both are immature and need to grow up. I have too much to do to entertain it.”

Lewis-Martin, who started working for Adams in the early 2000s and served as his deputy Brooklyn borough president before City Hall, has publicly earned nothing but praise from him.

His 2018 text about Lewis-Martin came after Whitehead had called her a “b—h” in a text and claimed she had prevented him from trying to “make money” off of a concert series Adams, who then served as Brooklyn borough president, was helping host at the time.

In direct response to that expletive-riddled missive, Adams, who was at the time laying the groundwork for his 2021 mayoral run, texted Whitehead he was about to meet with “potential donors” and did not have “time at this point to deal with personality clashes” between him and Lewis-Martin.

Assignment – PASTOR

At 922 Remsen Avenue for press conference with Bishop Lamor Whitehead in Brooklyn on Friday July 29, 2022. (Theodore Parisienne for New York Daily News)

Lamor Whitehead. (Theodore Parisienne for New York Daily News)

Asked about the texts, Adams spokeswoman Kayla Mamelak said Wednesday the mayor considers Lewis-Martin “a sister” and “has nothing but the utmost respect and love for” her.

“These texts are a response to one specific incident and in no way speak to the mayor’s real feelings about Ingrid,” Mamelak added.

Whitehead, who’s in jail pending his sentencing, didn’t return a request for comment via his lawyer.

Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Chief Advisor to Mayor, is pictured during a press conference at City Hall Blue Room on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for NY Daily News)
Ingrid Lewis-Martin. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for NY Daily News)

The texts obtained by The News show Whitehead griped for years to Adams about Lewis-Martin sidelining him from making money off of Brooklyn concert series.

“I bust my a– to make sure this concert worked and now I’m finding out that Ingrid … has F—-D ME!!!! … I have busted my a– !! And I’m the only one not getting S–t !!!! … Everyone eating on my connect,” he texted Adams in summer 2017 about another event.

Adams, who was traveling in China at the time, wrote Whitehead, “I can’t manage the situation from China and I am not going to try.”

Text messages between Mayor Eric Adams and Lamar Whitehead.
Texts between Mayor Adams and Lamor Whitehead.

Months earlier, Adams had asked Whitehead to dial down his tone.

“Life is not a prison yard where all disagreements must in [sic] with a Shank,” Adams texted on Aug. 26, 2016. “The most powerful lesson I learned from my mentor is one must have the discipline to walk away when you want to smack the s–t out of someone.”

Whitehead also asked Adams for political advice as he was trying to mount an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to succeed him as borough president.

“You win the race by raising money. We went over this already,” Adams texted Whitehead on Aug. 17, 2018 after he asked how to win the BP race. “Have to raise money. Everything else is fluff.”

Mayor Eric Adams is pictured during a press conference at City Hall Blue Room on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. During the press conference, Mayor Adams answered questions regarding the illegal migrants committing robberies on mopeds, the migrant crisis in general, and the NYPD officers shot yesterday by an illegal migrant from Venezuela. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for NY Daily News)
Mayor Eric Adams (Luiz C. Ribeiro for NY Daily News)

There were other times when Adams told Whitehead to stop publicly indicating he had his political support.

“You are not my candidate for Boro President,” Adams texted on May 2, 2018 after Whitehead had publicly suggested he had Adams’ backing. “You a good friend but you have to be ready. This is not a game.”

Three years later, on June 11, 2021 Whitehead texted a poster for his BP campaign that claimed Adams had endorsed him.

“I am not endorsing in the BP race … Don’t put me in a position where the press gets this flyer and ask am I endorsing you. Then your opponents will right [sic] a story saying you are misleading,” responded Adams, who won the 2021 Democratic mayoral primary days later.

Whitehead, who’s known as the “Bling Bishop” due to his penchant for flashy clothing, initiated what he has described as a “mentorship” with Adams in the early 2010s.

According to sources, Adams first met Whitehead, who had spent time in prison years earlier on other fraud charges, in connection with events honoring Whitehead’s father, Arthur Miller, a businessman killed by police in 1978.

Text messages between Mayor Eric Adams and Lamar Whitehead.
Texts between Mayor Adams and Lamor Whitehead.

Whitehead is currently at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, awaiting sentencing. Prosecutors have asked he receive 12½ years in prison.

The feds stressed as part of Whitehead’s prosecution that Adams wasn’t aware of the pastor’s use of his name to advance his scheme, which included him extorting a Bronx businessman for a $500,000 real estate investment he falsely claimed had the mayor’s support.

After becoming mayor, Adams stopped interacting regularly with Whitehead, the texts show.

“I’ve been calling you for over 2 months now trying to meet with you however you are meeting with everyone else but me. I guess I’m not in your vision,” Whitehead texted him on Feb. 16, 2022. “I would’ve never thought you would treat me this way!”

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