Top Eric Adams aide’s company got Chinese communist cash

One of New York City Mayor Eric Adams’s closest advisors has been named by Chinese Communist Party-backed organizations as their longtime “consultant,” The Post has learned.

Winnie Greco, 61, is a special advisor to the Mayor and his director of Asian affairs, earning a $100,000 salary from the city last year. Adams quietly appointed Greco on Jan. 2, 2022, a day after his swearing-in.

But she has also been named as a “consultant” by at least two Beijing-backed organizations — the Dong Guan Association of America and the Fujian Daily Southeast Network. And her company took money from the Propaganda Department of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.

On Friday a spokesperson for the mayor said she was not a consultant and sources said Greco was asking the Dong Guan Association to alter its website.

Greco (right) repeatedly escorted Adams to China when he was Brooklyn borough president, including to Beijing in 2017, where he met Su Bensheng, (second right), vice president of the Beijing Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. It was subsequently designated by the State Department as a Communist Party “malign influence” campaign.mt.sohu.com/ ICN

Greco has also repeatedly attended events organized by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries — which the State Department accuses of “malignly” influencing local leaders — with the most recent one taking place last month.

Greco has even sung “Ode to the Motherland,” a song in praise of the Communist regime, on stage in front of Adams.

The disclosure of one of Adams’ top aide’s close links to the CCP comes in the wake of The Post’s revelation that China was operating secret police stations in New York.

The Post’s story led to the federal indictments of “Harry” Lu Jianwang, 61, and Chen Jinping, 59. They were each charged with conspiring to act as agents of China’s government and obstruction of justice for opening a covert police station in Manhattan’s Chinatown, according to court papers. The arraignment is scheduled for next month. No pleas have been entered.

Winnie GrecoWinnie Greco was hired as a special advisor to Eric Adams a day after he took office as mayor last year.Benny Polatseck, Mayoral Photography Office
A building in Manhattan used as a secret Chinese police station.China’s attempts to exert influence and grow its power have come under scrutiny after The Post revealed it was running secret police stations, including in this building in Manhattan’s Chinatown.REUTERS

It is unclear if Greco was paid for her alleged consulting work but she has been lauded for her efforts to promote China’s hardline leader Xi Jinping.

Greco enjoys a place of privilege alongside the mayor, appearing in the front row of dignitaries at the appointment of Edward Caban as the city’s new police commissioner last month, and at various public events at Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s official residence.

On Friday Adams stood behind Greco, a long-time ally. A spokesperson for the mayor said: “Winnie Greco is a dedicated public servant who has worked tirelessly to build relationships between the Adams administration and Asian-New Yorkers, ensuring their voices and needs are heard.

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“She is not a consultant for anything – or anyone – and only serves this administration and the 8.3 million New Yorkers who call this city home.

Winnie Greco behind the new police commissioner Caban and close to Adams.Greco’s frequent presence at City Hall events includes Gracie Mansion receptions and the announcement of Edward Caban as police commissioner in July. NYC. Gov

“Any insinuation otherwise is nothing short of fear-mongering, unfounded, and only contributes to unwarranted prejudice towards the Asian community that has already endured far too much hostility in the last few years.”

A Chinese immigrant, born Zheng Qirong, arrived in the US in the late 1990s and started off by selling windows and doors in the Bronx with her former husband, Nickolas Greco, according to public records.

Greco described herself on a now-deleted personal website as “patriotic overseas Chinese” — a term that refers to individuals who live outside of the country but maintain a strong sense of loyalty to the CCP.

In July 2011, she was named as a “consultant” for the American Dong Guan Association, under her Chinese name. She was still listed on the organization’s website as a “consultant director” Friday.

The 2011 post said the association has voted to “hire” her as “senior consultant.”

Dong Guan Association of America web page  in ChineseThe website of the Dong Guan Association of America lists Winnie Greco by her Chinese name Zheng Qirong as a “Consultant Director.” Greco said she is not a consultant for the group and has asked that her name be removed.

The American Dong Guan Association is at least partly funded by China. In 2010, the group received 200,000 yuan — just over $27,000 — from the municipal government of the city of Dongguan “to help the association serve the folks in the US,” according to a post on the organization’s Chinese-language website.

A City Hall spokeswoman told The Post that Greco is not a consultant for the group and said that Greco had contacted the organization to take her name down.

In 2012 Greco set up the Sino-America New York Brooklyn Archway Association, with two other Chinese-Americans.

The following year, Adams, then a state senator, was elected as Brooklyn’s borough president, taking office on January 1, 2014.

Eric Adams as borough president of BrooklynAdams became borough president of Brooklyn on January 1, 2014.Gabriella Bass

Within weeks Greco was appointed by Adams as the first “honorary ambassador” representing the borough’s Chinese community. Public records suggest Greco was living in the Bronx at the time.

In late May that year, Adams traveled to China for 11 days on a trip paid for by the Sino-America New York Brooklyn Archway Association, the non-profit Greco controlled. The group paid nearly $7,000 for Adams and his deputy Diana Reyna to visit seven Chinese districts; the Chinese government contributed $787.

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Neither Greco nor other members of the non-profit explained where the money came from when asked by reporters at the time.

It was the first trip to China Adams made as borough president. He returned six more times during his time in the role, which ended when he was sworn in as mayor on Jan. 1, 2022.

Eric Adams and Winnie Greco in China in 2017.Adams and Greco (in orange) photographed on a trip to China in 2017. Greco received praise and funding from CCP organizations in China.mt.sohu.com

In 2016 Greco was identified in a Chinese media report as the “consultant of the US website of the Fujian Daily Southeast Network,” according to a Chinese media report. It is an affiliate of the official newspaper of the Fujian Provincial Committee of the CCP.

The next year, 2017, Greco attended a conference in China organized by the CCP and Chinese government entities which was at the same time as the 19th Communist Party Congress — the most important display of the party’s power.

She was praised as a “non-governmental diplomatic ambassador” and brought a letter of congratulations from Adams.

Later that year, Greco and Adams were photographed together in China where they met with members of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, a group that US intelligence agencies have subsequently warned is a “malign” tool of the CCP.

Xi Jinping dressed in blue at a desk. During one of Adams’ visits, he was reported by local media to have praised a key plank of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s hardline foreign policy, the “Belt and Road” initiative.CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Shutterstock
Winne Greco and Eric Adams in ChinaEric Adams and Winnie Greco were photographed alongside Chinese officials on one of Adams’s seven trips to China while he was Brooklyn Borough President.mt.sohu.com/ ICN

The future mayor was photographed in talks with a Chinese official beside interlinked US and Chinese flags, a propaganda victory for the Chinese side.

“The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), a Beijing-based organization tasked with co-opting subnational governments, has sought to directly and malignly influence state and local leaders to promote the PRC’s global agenda,” the State Department warned in 2020.

While in China, Adams was reported by local media to have praised the country’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative, a massive infrastructure project that is the cornerstone of Xi Jinping’s aggressive pursuit of influence overseas.

Eric Adams in ChinaWhen he was Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams was photographed at a meeting with a Chinese official in what was seen as a propaganda victory for the country.mt.sohu.com/ ICN

“He very much agrees with the concept of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and pointed out that  ‘exchange’ is the most important core,” according to Sohu, a Chinese internet company.

In 2018, the year after his praise for the Belt and Road Initiative, Adams allocated $2 million in capital funds from the Borough President’s office to Greco’s Sino-America Brooklyn Archway Foundation to build a 40-foot “friendship archway” in Sunset Park’s bustling Chinatown — a project started under Adams’ predecessor.

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The Chinese government was supposed to put in $500,000. However, the archway was never built; China pulled out in 2020.

Eric Adams and Winnie Greco at a Chinatown eventAdams presented a check for $2 million to special advisor Winnie Greco, whose non-profit had partnered with China to build a “friendship arch” in Sunset Park’s Chinatown. The 40-foot structure was never built.Caroline Ourso
Friendship Archway in BrooklynThe proposed “friendship archway” that was slated to be built in Sunset Park was never built despite a pledge of $2 million from Eric Adams when he was Brooklyn Borough President.NYC. gov

In 2019 her company Greco Development LLC received an unknown amount of funding from the Propaganda Department of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the CCP — for an initiative called the Beijing Cultural and Creative Competition.

That same year, she organized a 2019 fundraising event for Adams at a Chinatown restaurant. Also present was Lu who was indicted earlier this year for allegedly operating the Chinese overseas police station, first exposed by The Post.

Adams’ ascent to the mayoralty was followed by a new — paid — role for Greco, as “director of Asian Affairs,” which happened on Jan. 2, 2022, but was not officially announced until she was listed as a participant in a Lunar New Year Reception a month later.

Lu Jianwang leaves Brooklyn's federal court with a woman holding his arm.“Harry” Lu Jianwang was indicted after The Post’s revelation of secret Chinese police stations. He was present at a 2019 fundraiser for Adams organized by Greco.REUTERS
Winnie Greco, special advisor to Mayor Eric Adams, cuts a ribbon opening at an exhibition organized by the Chinese Communist Party's People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. Greco (third from right) was part of a ribbon-cutting for an exhibition organized by the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries in Manhattan in August. She stood beside Jing Ying (second right), vice president of the Shanghai branch of the group which is designated as a “malign influence” campaign by the State Department.

Since then, the mayor has again come into contact with a CCP-linked organization. Last September he attended a glitzy dinner at a Flushing, Queens, restaurant which was sponsored by the America Changle Association NY Inc.

It owns and operated the police station on East Broadway in Manhattan’s Chinatown that has been accused by a human rights group of spying on the Chinese diaspora, The Post first reported.

Sources close to the mayor said he was unaware at the time of the gala of the allegations against the ChangLe Association.

Greco is shown smiling in photographs alongside Adams, who was the guest of honor and received $4,000 in donations from one of the charity’s principals.

And undeterred by the State Department’s designation of the People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries as a malign influence operation, last month, Greco attended an event organized by its Shanghai branch in Manhattan, standing beside a senior Chinese official to cut the ribbon on an exhibition about Jewish refugees from Nazism in 1930s and 1940s Shanghai.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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