Grubhub execs poured $13K into Mayor Adams’ campaign while suing his administration over NYC delivery fee caps

Executives at Grubhub dished out more than $13,000 in donations to Mayor Adams’ reelection campaign over the span of a few weeks this fall while the food delivery company was in the midst of a legal battle with his administration, according to freshly released records.

The Grubhub donations to Adams rolled in as the company was locked in a court case against his administration over how much the delivery giant can charge restaurants in fees.

On Oct. 3, Ariella Kurshan, a senior vice president at Grubhub, forked over $2,100, the maximum amount permitted by law, city Campaign Finance Board records made public this week show.

Over the next three and a half weeks, another 12 Grubhub execs chipped in dough to the mayor’s 2025 reelection bid. Among them were Grubhub chief operating officer Eric Ferguson, who gave $2,100 on Oct. 5, and Adam DeWitt, the company’s CEO, who gave $2,100 on Oct. 20, records show.

In total, the 13 Grubhub bigs contributed $13,175 to Adams as part of the political spending spree in October.

Only two of the Adams-boosting Grubhub employees listed themselves in campaign finance filings as residing in New York City.

Only one of them had spent money on New York political races before the October donations: Amy Healy, a New Jersey-based Grubhub vice president of government affairs who also gave $500 in August 2021 to Adams’ first mayoral campaign, records show.

Grubhub’s lawsuit, which was first filed in Manhattan Federal Court in September 2021 together with Doordash and Uber Eats, seeks to strike down a pandemic-era city cap that limits fees third-party delivery services can tag restaurants with to 15% of the full price of an online order.

Enacted by ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2020, the cap constitutes government overreach and has caused the delivery platforms to lose millions of dollars in revenue, lawyers for the companies allege in court papers.

The lawsuit remains active, and Adams’ administration has asked a judge to dismiss it.

At the same time as it’s battling the administration in court, Grubhub’s lobbyists are pitching City Council members on a bill that would loosen the fee cap via legislative means, public records show. Should it ever pass the Council, such a bill would need to be signed by Adams to become law.

City Hall referred comment on the Grubhub donations to Adams’ campaign, whose lawyer, Vito Pitta, said it would be “inappropriate” for him to speak about the court case.

Pitta added: “On all matters, Mayor Adams makes official decisions based on what is best for the people of New York and that alone.”

Grubhub is listed in the city’s “Doing Business” database, which restricts political spending for individuals who engage in business with the municipal government. However, the only individuals listed under Grubhub’s name in the database are its lobbyists, likely meaning the company’s executives are free to give campaign cash to Adams without violating any rules or laws.

But Rachel Fauss, a senior policy adviser at the Reinvent Albany government watchdog group, said the Grubhub donations violate “the spirit of the law” that bar companies which do business with the city from contributing more than modest amounts of money to elected municipal officials’ campaigns.

“It certainly creates the appearance that [Grubhub executives] are trying to influence the mayor,” she said.

While a court case might not qualify as “doing business,” Fauss added, “That should be illegal, but money always finds a way.”

A Grubhub spokeswoman disputed the idea that its executives are trying to influence the mayor.

“Our employees are individuals who independently support causes and officials they believe in,” the spokeswoman said. “The cases referenced are working their way through the legal process and the outcomes will be decided by the courts and the courts alone.”

The cash from the Grubhub honchos are part of $1.27 million Adams has raised so far for his 2025 reelection bid, the records released this week show. A majority of that money — $644,037 — was given by people who live outside of New York City, and a significant chunk of it came from executives in the real estate industry, the records show.