By Josh Saul (NY Post)
June 2, 2014
Former Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes could be facing felony larceny charges after a new report accused him of taking over $1 million worth of money seized from crooks and using it to pay for a political p.r. consultant.
The city Department of Investigation says Hynes paid political consultant Mortimer Matz, 89, a total of $219,924 during the lead-up to Hynes’ failed re-election bid last year from a DA’s office account named “asset forfeiture,” according to the report, which was obtained by The Post.
And Matz bagged a generous day rate of $536.40 and scored more than $1.1 million in all from the DA’s office for “public relations and community services” between 2003 and 2013, according to the report.
The report says the payment to Matz violated conflict-of-interest and city Charter rules — and could lead to larceny charges for Hynes for misusing the state asset-forfeiture fund. The matter has been referred to the state attorney general, who could bring criminal charges.
The 27-page report also rips Supreme Court Justice Barry Kamins — who oversees the city’s criminal courts — saying he wrongly “engaged in political activity by a sitting judge.”
Kamins improperly advised Hynes on his campaign, communicated with Hynes on cases being prosecuted by the DA’s office, and even provided Hynes with legal advice, the report states.
“Judge Kamins has been relieved of all his administrative responsibilities both overseeing the New York City criminal courts and his responsibilities as chief of policy and planning,” said Office of Court Administration spokesman David Bookstaver.
The DOI investigation also uncovered evidence that Hynes wrongly used his official staff and e-mail accounts in an attempt to bolster his unsuccessful 2013 re-election campaign.
“Several high-level [DA’s office] staff appeared to have assisted Hynes in his re-election campaign,” the report states.
Spokesman Jerry Schmetterer, Chief Assistant DA Amy Feinstein, Deputy DA Dino Amoroso, First Assistant DA Anne Swern and Henna White, the office’s liaison to the Orthodox Jewish community, may have violated the Charter by working on Hynes’ campaign, the report also says.
Hynes, who served as DA for 24 years, lost the Democratic primary to Ken Thompson and then lost to Thompson again as an independent candidate in the general election.
“Shortly after becoming district attorney, DA Thompson’s office received a subpoena from the New York City Department of Investigation,” said a DA spokeswoman.
“This office has cooperated fully.”
A DOI spokeswoman declined to comment, saying only, “The report speaks for itself.”
Judge Kamins referred questions to his attorney, Paul Shechtman.
Joe Hynes and Barry Kamins have known each other for 40 years and have talked politics most of that time,” said Shechtman. “Anyone who knows Barry knows that he would not abuse his judicial office.”
Hynes couldn’t be reached.