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Ex-Brooklyn DA may have used $200K in forfeited funds for political consultant, report alleges

Posted Jun 3, 2014 10:44 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes may have used more than $200,000 in assets forfeited in criminal investigations to pay political consultants, according to allegations in a report by the New York City Department of Investigation.

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have stories on the report, which says the payments from an account labeled "asset forfeiture" were made to the public relations firm of Mortimer Matz, who serves as a a spokesperson for the DA’s office. During the period in question, 2012 and 2013, Matz did little public-relations work for the office and served “primarily if not exclusively as a political consultant to Hynes personally,” the report alleges.

Hynes lost a bid for re-election last year. The report accuses Hynes of using office emails for campaign purposes and says senior staffers apparently corresponded about the campaign during work hours. The report also alleged that the administrative judge for criminal courts in New York City, Barry Kamins, advised Hynes on campaign matters in more than 300 emails, most of them sent from his work account.

Kamins was relieved of administrative duties on Monday, a courts spokesman told the Times.

Matz declined to comment to the New York Times. The Times and the Wall Street Journal were unable to reach Hynes for comment. Kamins’ lawyer, Paul Shectman, told the Times that Kamins and Hynes “have been good friends for 40 years and have talked politics for much of that time. … Anyone who knows Barry knows that he would not abuse his judicial position.”

The ABA Journal featured Hynes as a Legal Rebel in 2009 for his diversion programs for offenders; his profile can be read here.

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