Ethics board deals record fine to former DA for abusing office during campaign

Brooklyn Paper
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Now he’s the one in trouble.

Ethics watchdogs slapped Brooklyn’s embattled former top prosecutor with the highest fine ever dealt by the city for illegal campaign-related activities, after he admitted to abusing his government e-mail during a contentious 2013 re-election bid he ultimately lost.

Former District Attorney Charles Hynes, a Flatbush native who ran the office from 1990 to 2014, sent more than 5,000 electronic missives to newspapers, campaign managers, political consultants, donors, allies, employees and a New York State Supreme Court judge from his municipal account in an attempt to defeat opponent Ken Thompson — who won the race, but died from cancer just two years into his term in 2016.

And last Friday, members of the city’s Conflict of Interest Board delivered the $40,000 fine to Hynes after investigating hundreds of his e-mails — the panel’s biggest penalty of its kind, according to the board.

The largest fine delivered by the watchdog group, for $84,000, was issued to former New York City sheriff Kerry Katsorhis in 1998, after he stood trial for ethics violations, records show.

The Conflict of Interest Board also slapped four of Hynes’ then employees in the district attorney’s office — one of whom still works as a prosecutor under District Attorney Eric Gonzalez — with fines for $6,000, $4,500, $3,000, and $1,000.

One of the staffers fessed up to knowingly using her government e-mail to fire off the campaign’s responses to a Village Voice report alleging Hynes received donations that influenced the prosecution of a case, and to criticism of the former district attorney’s relationship with the disgraced former Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who died in 2015.

Another — who received the stiffest of the fines dealt to Hynes’ employees — claimed at the time that he didn’t know using his municipal account for campaign business was wrong.

Hynes — who the Feds also investigated in 2014 for possibly misusing public funds to run his failed 2013 re-election bid, before dropping the probe — took full responsibility for violating the city’s ethics codes, and apologized to those underlings who bore the brunt of his wrongdoing.

“In the midst of a feverishly contested primary race, I made the mistake of using my city e-mail for campaign-related matters,” he said a statement. “If anyone is to blame for this, it should be me and me alone.”

But Hynes’ hefty penalty is a small price to pay compared to the millions of dollars taxpayers forked over in settlements the city made with people wrongfully convicted under his more than two-decade tenure.

A conviction-review unit Thompson established in 2014 has since exonerated 24 individuals — about half of whom were convicted before Hynes was first elected — and those decisions resulted in a whopping $101,903,125 in reparations to wrongful-conviction victims, according to records this newspaper obtained from Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office through a Freedom of Information Law request.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:47 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Joe the schmoe from Breezy Point, Queens says:
The fine over the emails is a complete white wash. Hynes stole millions of dollars from his asset forfeiture accounts using it to pay campaign workers and for renovations on his home in Boozy Point.

A simple thief.
March 30, 2018, 10:37 pm
Amy from Park Slope says:
Dozens of wrongful convictions that cost the taxpayers millions and Hynes pays a $40,000 fine? What a slap on the wrist
March 31, 2018, 12:40 am
Jesse from East New York says:
The Ministers supported Hynes right till the end because he gave them money.
March 31, 2018, 12:51 am
Dr J from Bay Ridge says:
Hynes is a tired old whore who just turned his last trick.
March 31, 2018, 1 am
andy from re hab says:
maybe hynes can go to one of those alternative to incarceration programs
March 31, 2018, 1:09 am
Paul from Greenwood Heights says:
Prosecutors claiming they didn't know they were breaking the law. Do they know ignorance is no defense.
March 31, 2018, 2:10 am
Ed Norton from Chauncy Street says:
hynes is yesterdays trash
March 31, 2018, 2:58 am
Dino the Bag Man from 61 Oliver Street says:
Lots of Ziti Herb
March 31, 2018, 4:14 am
Lenore from Woodside Queens says:
Hynes was a crook when he was Fire Commissioner. Koch found out and fired him.
March 31, 2018, 4:26 am
Josephine from Midwood says:
This old buzzard wanted to be Governor.

stupid stupid stupid
March 31, 2018, 9:10 am
Marcus from Brooklyn Heights says:
He thought he could fool all the people all the time. In the end he fooled nobody.

And he never lived in brooklyn.
March 31, 2018, 9:21 am
Wendy from Howard Beach says:
How could a TV movie be so wrong?
March 31, 2018, 9:25 am
Geraldo from New Jersey says:
The Howard Beach story was all ——.

The real killer was a court officer who ran over guy and hid his car in fatboy quirks garage for 2 weeks until hynes took over. hynes framed those kids but the guy who was killed got no show jobs in DA's office.
March 31, 2018, 11:24 am
Big Frank from Canarsie says:
If it walks like a crook and talks like a crook . . . .
March 31, 2018, 11:46 am
Amanda from Dyker Heights says:
"I inherited a legacy of disgrace"

District Attorney Ken Thompson, April 2014
March 31, 2018, 11:52 am
Benny from 3rd Avenue says:
All those "electronic missives" sent to newspapers were never noticed by the newspapers?
March 31, 2018, 11:58 am
Machia from Park Slope says:
So he framed dozens of people, let the pedophiles off, and stole all the money.

Outside of that he was the law and order type of guy.
March 31, 2018, Noon
Prince from Starret City says:
No fool like an old fool
March 31, 2018, 12:10 pm
TJ from Crooklyn says:
This guy is the dirtiest politician in america and he pays a fine?
March 31, 2018, 1:39 pm
Judge Roy Bean from Arkansays says:
Whats wrong with taking money from pedophiles?
March 31, 2018, 3:44 pm
Farcical Justice Watcher from Brooklyn Snake Pit says:
Hynes' getting away with chump change fines rather than jail time reminds us that there is a thumb on the scale of justice...

For those that want to be reminded of his cozy relationship protecting a child predator in the ultra-Orthodox community- do read the New Yorker story and...multiply it by dozens. The harm Hynes did to so many remains unpunished:

An excerpt:
He had a history of offering unusually light plea deals to Hasidic offenders, whose names his office kept confidential—a practice unique to the Hasidic community. Der Yid, published by Lebovits’s cousin, ran a full-page notice explaining that community leaders had benefitted from an “open door with Charles Hynes for the past 20 years” and “know firsthand what happens . . . when they got themselves entangled with the law, how district attorney Hynes worked very sensitively and mercifully to avoid sending them to jail.” Jews who supported Hynes’s opponent, Ken Thompson, were “informers and accusers from the dregs of the Jewish community,” who intended to “toss Jews in jail whenever it’s possible!”
March 31, 2018, 4:12 pm
$25,000,000 Is Required... from Park Slope says:
Anyone remember the bogus voter fraud conviction that Hynes pulled on Attorney John O'Hara as a political hit job?

A 2009 state judicial review found he was the victim of a trumped-up and politically motivated prosecution, and a judge finally cleared O’Hara of the charges in 2017 after Thompson’s team found a witness who admitted to providing false testimony during the original case.

O’Hara was ultimately barred from practicing law, & was put on probation for five years, and had to pay a $20,000 fine and perform 1,500 hours of community service.

Now there's a lawsuit for $25,000,000 against Hynes for malicious conviction...that's more like it!
March 31, 2018, 5:06 pm
Ralph from Bay Ridge says:
Hynes was dirty and Cuomo ignored it until Ken Thompson passed away and then Cuomo showed up for the funeral. Mob guys do that.
March 31, 2018, 5:24 pm
Anne Jacobs from Brooklyn says:
Hynes stole when he was fire commissioner

He stole as district attorney

After a lifetime of stealing he pays a $40,000 fine.

But nobody is above the law?
March 31, 2018, 5:36 pm
Parish Priest from St Pats says:
Keep going to church every morning Joe. as long as you throw a few bucks in the collection box everything is ok, oh and yeah those people you wrongfully convicted are now rich thanks to you chump !!
March 31, 2018, 5:42 pm

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