Mayor Adams responded Tuesday to claims that Evolv, a company that makes gun detection devices, got special treatment from the city over its competitors — and he encouraged the competition to get in touch with him.
Adams was responding to statements Patriot One Technologies CEO Peter Evans made to the Daily News about how his company was not given the opportunity to participate in a free pilot program like Evolv has — even though a spokesman for the mayor said City Hall contacted “a number of companies” about gun detection technology.
“We want all technology,” Adams said at an unrelated press conference Tuesday afternoon. “Instead of him saying, ‘We didn’t reach out to him,’ he should reach out. He said he reached out. I don’t know who he reached out to. I’m not hard to find.
“The goal is to find technology to keep people safe,” he added.
Evans told The News that not only did the city not contact him about running a gun detection pilot program — Evolv conducted two in the first five months of the Adams administration — but that Patriot One’s sales team also was unable to make any headway in terms of getting in touch with the city.
The CEO also claimed that Patriot One doesn’t “exactly have the right connections” in City Hall, adding that: “I don’t have any investor group who’s got a personal relationship with the mayor.”
That remark was an apparent reference to a variety of relationships involving 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 did work 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 of those companies held sizable investments in Evolv.
John Kaehny, head of the government watchdog Reinvent Albany, has said that raises questions about conflicts of interest that elected officials should take pains to avoid. Giving Evolv the pilot program without contacting one of their top competitors “suggests to everyone in government that they’re the preferred vendor right off the bat,” Kaehny said.
Adams dismissed those criticisms as well.
“I have not found a good government group yet that says something nice,” he said. “How bout saying something nice — that Eric is trying to find technology to save the lives of New Yorkers?”