She puts the con in consulting.
During the early days of his New York City mayoral campaign, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams paid $30,000 to a firm called KA Strategy. The same filing also listed a woman named “Kristina Koval.”
The money was for campaign and fundraising consulting, according to the NYC Campaign Finance Board records, and was paid in three installments of $10,000 between November 2018 and January 2019.
KA’s founder Kristina Kovalyuk was busted just two months after the last payment by NYPD cops for allegedly selling a fake handbag and snatching $350 out of a reluctant buyer’s hand. And in 2008, she was collared in Fairfax, Va., and charged with grand and petty larceny after an alleged shoplifting spree at high-end retailers.
Kovalyuk, 38, was originally slapped with felony charges of grand larceny and trademark counterfeiting in the March 24, 2019 NYC incident, the NYPD said. Those were later watered down to misdemeanor charges of petty larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, according to the criminal complaint. The charges were later dropped, a spokesman for Kovalyuk said.
The alleged victim, 32-year-old Safaa Hamed, remembered the encounter with the stunning blonde vividly.
The New Jersey resident said she first met Kovalyuk on the commerce app OfferUp, where Kovalyuk claimed to be selling a used Chanel handbag for about $900. After making a deal, Hamed and husband Asiff Wahid drove into Manhattan to finalize the purchase.
But immediately after paying, “I had a bad feeling. As soon as I saw the bag, I said this doesn’t look right,” Wahid recalled.
Hamed and her husband lured Kovalyuk back to the car by pretending to be interested in buying Valentino shoes she was also hawking. Hamed and Wahid flashed $350 in cash to get her close — and then demanded a refund for the original bag.
“She said f—k you and was cursing me and snatched the money from my hand,” Hamed said.
She hopped out of the car and chased after Kovalyuk, while Wahid followed in their Kia Sorento. Five minutes later, cops apprehended Kovalyuk at the corner of 49th Street and Lexington Avenue and ordered her to return the cash, the couple said.
In the Virginia case, Kovalyuk was arrested after allegedly going on a four-store shoplifting spree at the Tysons Galleria mall in McLean, Va. Kovalyuk was accused of snatching a bracelet from Saks Fifth Avenue, dresses from Neiman Marcus, and some smaller knick knacks from Anthropologie and Williams-Sonoma before being busted by a Neiman security guard, according to police and court records obtained by The Post.
Kovalyuk’s lawyers successfully pled for leniency and the case was expunged after she finished 750 hours of community service and submitted to a mental health evaluation. She also completed a 12-step shoplifters anonymous course, records say. A written psychiatric evaluation at the time said she had experienced personal traumas that “culminated with the arrest on shoplifting/larceny charges.”
Despite her low-level scrapes with the law, Kovalyuk hobnobs with A-listers, and has a high-octane business resume — but one found by The Post to be chock full of exaggerations and apparent fictions. It makes her five-figure consulting work for Adams — a street-smart ex-cop — all the more mysterious.
Her LinkedIn profile and company website boasts a Columbia Business School education, but the the school has no record of her attending. Moody’s, where she claimed to have helped “restructure the company post-2008 credit crisis,” said she was employed for seven months in a “sales role.” Morgan Stanley, where Kovalyuk claimed to have been a “vice president” and “senior relationship manager,” told The Post she misrepresented her position at their company — but declined to specify. Kovalyuk claimed to be past “co-head of corporate strategy at Zurich Financial Services,” something the company said was “not consistent with our records.”
Social media posts and celebrity-photo agencies show Kovalyuk and sister Jane palling around with the likes of Sara Jessica Parker and Madeline Albright at the Plaza Hotel, and in April 2019 — weeks after Kovalyuk’s arrest — posing with Marc Anthony at a ritzy event at the Pierre. Aldo Sohm, Sommelier at Le Bernardin, sat for a chummy pic with Kristina Kovalyuk in 2015 that later found its way into the New York Times.
“She likes to be around high-profile business people. She seems to be able to talk very good business. She can talk to bankers with no problem,” Sohm told The Post, adding that he cut ties with her because he felt she was using him for access to his powerful network of friends.
“There is a gold digger component there. That is the vibe I got,” he said.
A person with knowledge of the situation said Adams met Kovalyuk at an event in a Brooklyn bank in April 2017 in a building owned by GOP megadonor John Catsimatidis. The Adams campaign told The Post, “Ms. Kovalyuk was hired as a fundraiser for a three-month trial period very early on in the campaign, during which the campaign raised more than $600,000. Her contract was not renewed after she asked for an increase in pay.”
Campaign spokesman Evan Thies declined to answer questions about her criminal history.
Kovalyuk said, “My firm was simply retained to help the campaign with strategic advisory and fundraising, as outlined in my contract. Your article is a typical NY Post hit job.”
Kovalyuk declined to answer questions about her arrests, the disposition of the cases or the alleged falsehoods in her resume.
“Ms. Kovalyuk completed a short term consulting agreement for Eric Adams and wishes him luck in the upcoming mayoral election. She considers him a friend,” Kovalyuk spokesman Ronn Torossian told The Post.