NYC construction firm reportedly linked to FBI raid on Adams fundraiser is major player, has ties to Turkey

Obtained by Daily News/New York Daily News/Obtained by Daily News
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A Brooklyn construction firm reportedly identified as part of a federal corruption inquiry into Mayor Adams’ 2021 campaign has an extensive real estate portfolio across New York City and ties to Turkey, whose government has also been named as a potential player in the probe.

KSK Construction Group, a Brooklyn-based firm, has real estate interests in the commercial, residential and hospitality fields across New York City. The firm has overseen at least 39 projects, including luxury properties in Manhattan and Brooklyn, a shopping center in Harlem and a Marriott Courtyard Hotel.

As first reported by The New York Times, a search warrant authorizing an early Thursday raid at the home of Adams campaign fundraiser Brianna Suggs instructed the FBI to search for evidence of allegations that Adams’ 2021 campaign conspired with KSK and the Turkish government to funnel foreign cash into the campaign’s coffers via straw donors.

Neither Adams nor Suggs have been formally accused of any wrongdoing as part of the FBI probe that prompted the raid at Suggs’ home.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Adams said he’s “outraged and angry if anyone attempted to use the campaign to manipulate our democracy and defraud our campaign.”

“I want to be clear, I have no knowledge, direct or otherwise, of any improper fundraising activity—and certainly not of any foreign money,” his statement said. “We will of course work with officials to respond to inquiries, as appropriate—as we always have.”

KSK, which has its office on N. 10th St. near Williamsburg’s McCarren Park, was incorporated in 2010, according to state business records. City records show 11 KSK employees gave nearly $14,000 to Adams’ campaign on the same day in 2021, with nearly all of them listed as donating $1,250 each. Among the KSK executives who contributed was Erden Arkan, who’s listed in records as the company’s owner.

KSK has a number of links to Turkey, the Daily News has found.

According to state commercial code records, KSK holds debt with the New York branch of Vakiflar Bankasi, Turkey’s second largest government-owned bank. The records do not make clear how much debt KSK holds.

Arkan states on his LinkedIn profile that he received his education at Istanbul University in Turkey.

There are also links between KSK and a major Turkish construction company, KiSKA, which has not been named in connection with the investigation or accused of any wrongdoing.

One of Arkan’s fellow principals at KSK, Ulgur Aydin, told the trade publication Construction Today in 2021 that he, Arkan and a third partner, Selim Akyuz, launched the company after working together at KiSKA Construction, which has completed big projects for Turkey’s government.

“KSK is a company that was born from KiSKA Construction,” Aydin told the trade publication at the time.

KiSKA is one of Turkey’s largest construction companies, with offices in New York City and Ankara. On its website, KiSKA says it has carried out 91 public works projects in Turkey, including work for Turkey’s Ministry of Defense, General Directorate of Provincial Bank and General Directorate of State Airports Authority.

KiSKA also has a major footprint in New York City real estate. The company owns Marmara, a hotel chain with two locations in Manhattan, and has worked on iconic construction projects in the city, including the High Line in the Meatpacking District, KiSKA’s founder Oguz Gursel told the Turk Of America magazine in 2014.

Representatives for KSK and KiSKA did not return requests for comment Friday.

There are also additional ties between the two entities beyond the fact that KSK’s partners used to work at KiSKA, according to records reviewed by The News.

State business records show KiSKA Development Group, one of several limited liability corporations used by KiSKA Construction, was housed at the same Williamsburg address as KSK between 2008 and 2017.

On LinkedIn, Arkan, KSK’s owner, still lists himself as a “principal” at Kiska Group. His partner, Aydin, lists himself as a principal of KSK on his LinkedIn profile, but notes that KSK was “formerly known as Kiska Group.”