Sam Bankman-Fried Dined With Eric Adams at NYC Mayor’s Go-To Italian Restaurant

Erstwhile crypto titan and avowed vegan Sam Bankman-Fried was also scheduled to meet New York Gov. Kathy Hochul at The Capital Grille steakhouse, according to FBI trial testimony.

AccessTimeIconOct 17, 2023 at 10:32 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 18, 2023 at 8:41 p.m. UTC
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NEW YORK — Sam Bankman-Fried tangled with New York’s top political and financial power brokers in the months preceding FTX’s collapse and his subsequent arrest. He even had one soiree at New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ favorite late-night haunt.

Despite living in the Bahamas, the erstwhile crypto titan frequented the Big Apple in 2022, according to testimony at Bankman-Fried’s trial from an FBI agent who specializes in analyzing phone records. On Tuesday, Special Agent Richard Busick walked the jury through a series of meetups. This part of his testimony was likely meant to highlight how Bankman-Fried’s alleged crimes played out in New York City.

At one moment Bankman-Fried might show up for a 15-minute photoshoot with Forbes in midtown; at another, he’d be penciled in with Saudi Arabia’s finance minister, Khalid A. Al-Falih or the head of its sovereign wealth fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan. All scheduling streamed through his employee Natalie Tien, a personal assistant whose experiences managing the frazzled CEO provide the opening scenes in Michael Lewis’ book “Going Infinite.”

In March 2022, Bankman-Fried even took a dinner with Mayor Adams at Osteria La Baia, an Italian restaurant near the Museum of Modern Art that’s owned by friends of Hizzoner and has become his de-facto after-hours office. A copy of the mayor’s public schedule has a “Hold for Mayor” meeting on March 3, 2022, starting at 8:30 p.m. ET, but does not include details of who he met with. In September 2022 Bankman-Fried was slated to meet New York Governor Kathy Hochul at The Capital Grille steakhouse – an odd meeting ground for the avowed vegan.

The emails prosecutors selected showcased how in-demand Bankman-Fried was prior to everything falling apart. The investing world clamored for access to the crypto wunderkind; 32 different funds requested access to a group dinner, including that of George Soros and Morgan Stanley.

Adams is known to be a crypto fan. His first mayoral paycheck was denominated in bitcoin and ether. (Or it kind of was. He was paid in U.S. dollars, but the money was immediately converted into BTC and ETH.) He has talked about making the city a crypto hub.

There was no answer at the mayor’s press office when CoinDesk called Tuesday evening.

Edited by Marc Hochstein and Nick Baker.


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Danny Nelson

Danny is CoinDesk's Managing Editor for Data & Tokens. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.

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