Mayor Adams responded Tuesday to claims that Evolv, a company that makes weapons-detection devices, received special treatment from the city over its competitors — and he encouraged the competition to contact him.
Adams was responding to statements made by Patriot One Technologies CEO Peter Evans to the Daily News about how his company was not getting a chance to participate in a free trial program like Evolv has done — although a spokesman for the mayor said City Hall contacted “a number of companies” about weapons detection technology.
“We want all the technology,” Adams said at an unrelated news conference Tuesday afternoon. “Instead of him saying, ‘We haven’t contacted him,’ he should get in touch. He said he held out his hand. I don’t know who he contacted. I’m not hard to find.
“The goal is to find technology to protect people,” he added.
Evans told The News that not only had the city failed to contact him about running a weapons-detection pilot program — Evolv ran two in the first five months of Adams’ administration — but Patriot One’s sales team made no progress either. could book in terms of getting in touch with the city.
The CEO also claimed Patriot One doesn’t have “just the right connections” at City Hall, adding, “I don’t have any investor group that has a personal relationship with the mayor.”
That comment was a clear reference to a variety of relationships with Evolv that good government groups have described as potentially problematic for Adams.
Evolv is the client of a lobbying firm Moonshot Strategies, whose CEO Jason Ortiz worked for a pro-Adams political action committee. That PAC accepted $750,000 from Kenneth Griffin, CEO of the Citadel investment firm, and $250,000 from Robert Granieri, founder of Jane Street Financial Services. As of last month, both companies had significant investments in Evolv.
John Kaehny, head of government watchdog Reinvent Albany, has said this raises questions about conflicts of interest that elected officials should avoid. Giving Evolv the pilot program without contacting any of their top competitors “suggests everyone in government that they are the preferred supplier right away,” Kaehny said.
Adams also rejected that criticism.
“I haven’t found a good government group that says anything nice yet,” he said. “How about saying something nice – that Eric is trying to find technology to save the lives of New Yorkers?”