Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes has been attacked for allegedly under-charging haredi sex criminals, mishandling cases, allowing haredi witness tampering to go unpunished and for a series of wrongful convictions. But it may be the tangled web of campaign contributions that brings him down.
Tangled Web: Patronage And Tens Of Thousands Of Dollars In Contributions And Loans Call Hynes Campaign Into Question
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
It all started with an insulting anonymous email accusing me of lying about Brooklyn DA Charles J. Hynes.
“Stop you lies re DA HYNES[.] Learn to tell the truth.”
“I am reporting the truth,” I replied.
“You are full of shit and everyone knows you are an asshole[,]” the anonymous emailer responded. (The emails are posted as image files at the end of this post.)
Normally, I ignore these types of anonymous comments. But I was struck by a phrase used in that email, “everyone knows you are an asshole,” because I had been told almost two years ago from a source close to a senior Hynes staffer that Hynes regularly referred to me as “that asshole.” So I spent a few minutes trying to find out who owns that email address – firstname.lastname@example.org. And what I found is stunning.
email@example.com is owned by a member of the family of Dennis W. Quirk, the head of the New York State Court Officers Association and a top campaign associate of Charles J. Hynes.
That address is asociated with Dennis Quirk's late wife Doreen, with his daughters Janet, a senior court clerk; Keri, the wife of a forensic accountant in Hynes' office; and Doreen.
I also found that despite holding jobs that include court [police] officer, court clerk and other solid middle class patronage jobs, the Quirk family has showered Hynes with tens of thousands of dollars in contributions.
How could that be?
Perhaps it is because Dennis Quirk also owns a business running city ice rinks, parking lots and concessions that he says grosses $1.8 million annually. Along with that, he runs the union and works full time as a court officer for a yearly salary of $56,625. Critics claim he got those contracts because of his long-time position as head of the court officers union and his skillful use of campaign donations for politicians like Hynes .
According to the Daily News, Quirk was elected president of the court officers' union in 1974 when he was only 24-years-old and has held that post ever since. Quirk won his first city contract three years after his election – a concession from the Parks Department for a snack bar in Manhattan Beach. Quirk also operates mobile food carts and a large parking lot there.
In 1998 during Hynes’ failed run for governor, Janet Quirk – then a young court clerk – gave Hynes $10,000. Her three sisters, Keri, Susan and Doreen, each gave $10,000, as well. Their grandmother, Dennis Quirk's mother Alice Quirk who lives next door to Janet in Staten Island, also gave $10,000. The home Alice lives in is valued at $769,860 on the real estate website Zillow.com. That same website values the home Janet shares with her husband Chet at $925,803.
Howard Fortel, Keri Quirk-Fortel’s husband, works as a Supervising Accountant Investigator for Hynes. (He was hired by Hynes in 2002 or earlier.)
Susan Quirk is an assistant district attorney in Hynes’ office. She holds the title of Director of Legal Hiring – where she apparently doles out patronage jobs. She has only been licensed to practice law since 2005 and has little real world legal experience – something I'm told legal experts find shocking for a woman in her position. For example, the last three people to hold that position in the Manhattan District Attorney's office are accomplished attorneys with many years of trial experience and very strong academic backgrounds who can easily be described as illustrious. Susan Quirk cannot.
Hynes’ office has other patronage hires, as well, including his late close friend and campaign associate Charles Posner’s son Mark who was caught calling prostitutes from his office phone (I’m told he later got a $10,000 raise from Hynes), Sex Crimes head Rhonnie Jaus’ daughter Victoria, a son of scandal-plagued Rackets Division head Michael Vecchione, and Justin Marrus of blackface infamy. This is not a complete list.
Staten Island Family Court Chief Clerk William Quirk is the brother of Dennis, the pugnacious head of the New York State court officers union who also plays a leading role in Hynes’ campaigns. Janet, now a senior court clerk, works under her uncle.
Janet’s father Dennis also contributes significant amounts of money to to Hynes – and so does the court officers’ union that he heads. It has contributed to Hynes’ campaigns, including $10,000 – a Quirk family ‘lucky’ number – in July of this year.
Dennis Quirk also loaned the Hynes campaign a lot of money – $50,000 in 2005, a hotly contested campaign year, to cover “campaign expenses.”
Hynes paid at least $24,000 of that loan back along with $3,830.63 in interest, but it does not appear that the entire $50,000 was repaid.
In addition, Hynes campaign has paid Dennis Quirk thousands of dollars for various fundraising related campaign expenses, including $803.42 for “Peter Luger” – a reference to the iconic Brooklyn steakhouse.
Election after election, the Quirks in their various permutations always seem to show up at the top of Hynes’ contributors list (as long as the election is contested), contributing far more money than their jobs would seem to allow.
I wrote back to the anonymous Quirk who sent me those emails. Without telling him/her that I knew his/her name and his/her connection to Hynes, I asked him/her to give me a list of lies s/he alleges I’ve told about Hynes.
“Instead of calling me names, why not list what you think are the lies I've told about Charles J. Hynes and explain why you believe they are lies? At least that might be constructive. It could even help Hynes where your insults won't. So, please send your list to me…,” I wrote.
There was no response.