Is the Brooklyn DA Losing Control of His Staff?

For a while now, staff of the Brooklyn District Attorney, Charles (Joe) Hynes have been leaking information to me because they are disgusted with the unethical conduct in the  Brooklyn DA’s office.

The pace of leaks is accelerating because employees are terrified that Hynes might get reelected. Right now they are rooting for Kenneth Thompson to win the election even though he is an unknown. Like employees in any organization contemplating a new boss, they are not sure how a DA Thompson would function and who he would favor, demote, or even dismiss. Everyone is sure he will fire Michael Vecchione and Henna White. Nevertheless, more and more of them are now willing to gamble on the “devil they don’t know.”

Hynes is trying to convince them he will be reelected and will ride out his scandals. Someone is spreading the word that the canvassing by his campaign organization confirms that he will win by a generous margin. That is nonsense. As Nate Silver demonstrated in the Obama-Romney contest, quality polling trumps internal canvassing data. If Hynes is politically competent he has commissioned a high quality voter poll. If the results are favorable he would have released them to demoralize his opposition and stanch the defection of key supporters.

Meanwhile, at home, Hynes is waging war on his loyal employees who insist on being ethical. For example, ADA Barbara Burke used to work on the executive floor (19) responding to Joel Rudin’s discovery requests in the Jabbar Collins lawsuit. She got the same treatment as Mark Posner; she was abruptly transferred to ECAB, the Siberia of the DA’s office for ADAs. Mark Posner was dumped there for using his work phone to contact prostitutes. Barbara, is an educator who worked her way through Touro’s Law Center as a part-time student. Nobody knows exactly what she did, but on August 5th, Deputy District Attorney Dino G. Amoroso sent her an initialed memo:

Effective August 6, 2013, you are transferred to the Early Case Assessment Bureau [ECAB] at 120 Schermerhorn Street, 4th floor. Please report to Teresa Shanahan at 9:00 a.m. that date for details of your assignment.

Another employee, Jonah Bruno, was also reassigned, but his reassignment is temporary based on the message on his voice mail. It may be related to his law school studies. In contrast, Ms. Burke’s directory listing has her in ECAB. Normally, temporary ECAB assignments are not reflected in the directory.

On the day she was reassigned she spent her last few hours in the press office, probably meeting with Jerry Schmetterer. I assume he was trying to get her to stick to some narrative if contacted by either Rudin or the press. Perhaps he was trying to debrief previous actions and knowledge of Ms. Burke to assess potential PR risks. The normally very composed Barbara Burke was seen crying.

I have no reason to believe Barbara Burke was leaking to the press. I believe she is loyal to office of the DA because she does not yet realize the extent to which problematic directives come from the very top for corrupt political motives. But darn, she is ethical and that is a problem at the Brooklyn DA. Worse still, from the point of view of the District Attorney, I believe she would honestly answer questions if placed under oath, unlike Michael Vecchione.

I am investigating other allegations about employees getting in trouble for being ethical.

Meanwhile, keep the tips coming. You can join my crowd sourcing effort by contacting me privately by one of the methods detailed on the upper right of all my web pages. I protect all my sources and no one has ever gotten in trouble for helping me.

Update (8/11/13):

Burke ECAB Transfer Screen Shot


24 thoughts on “Is the Brooklyn DA Losing Control of His Staff?

  1. Oops, Sorry for the typos, hard to type on the iPhone:

    All this begs the question of why Hynes hasn’t just retired. If he’s reelected the scandals will continue to grow in severity and quantity. While he no longer has any legacy to speak of at least he can walk around the Queens lily white gated community he calls home. If he wins another term even his bigoted neighbors will hold their noses when they see him after the extent of his egregious conduct is exposed.
    So, what’s it going to be Boss? Cut your losses? Or stick to your guns and go down in stinking flames together with your partners in crime?

  2. I suspect some people who care about him urged him to hang up his boots. But he is vain and in love with the power of his office. I don’t think he is self-aware enough to appreciate that his run of good luck was just that. Instead he relies on an inner circle including Aidal, Vecchione, his executive suite, Dennis Quirk and others who benefit from keeping Hynes in office and on life support.

  3. In days of old there was the rack.Today we have the press.This quote from Oscar Wilde seems. Most apt in this situation.The mob has decided that the 50 year career of Hynes is all for naught.His accomplishments were many his failures few.He doesnot deserve this treatment.

    • Hynes has become a shameless unrepentant tyrant who is responsible for innocent people spending years in prison and innocent children being subjected to unimaginable horrors. At the very least he needs to resign from public office. He is ruining the office and preventing caring ADAs from doing the work we signed up for.

      He deserves this treatment and much worse.

    • Sherlock — Benny Forer is an ADA, but in Los Angeles, not in Brooklyn, so has nothing to fear from DA Hynes. See .

      John Nolan — DA Hynes has been given plenty of praise for the accomplishments of the Brooklyn DA’s office on his watch. Why shouldn’t he now be censured for the miscarriages of justice caused by his ADA’s, violations of very basic moral, legal and professional standards that led to the convictions of probably innocent men and the refusal to re-examine their convictions later? Your quoting Oscar Wilde was unintentionally apt. Wilde reveled in the attention of the press, who publicized his brilliant, entertaining, unconventional and “scandalous” opinions and wit — until his own arrogance led to the public exposure of his seamy private life. As YL characterizes it in his satire, the other side of “Brooklyn DA” is not pretty.

  4. This post is so non-sensical that it’s hard to even comment upon. You cite no facts, or even speculation, as to why these two ADA’s were transferred, yet you conclude that it’s undeniable evidence of Hynes’ tyranny. You basically say, “these people are ethical, and they were transferred, so the only conclusion is that Hynes punishes ethical people.” This isn’t even kindergarten logic. The only truths here are that you hate Hynes and you’re free to make completely unsupported rants about him without any accountability, accurate or not. So, enjoy your freedom to spew the absurd. Do you also write for those Roswell conspiracy blogs?

  5. Haha this spread like wild fire. The message is: keep your mouth shut at KCDA. She’s toast. It took them 2 months to move Posner. She musta pissed someone off. Posner sits outside the holding pens. Is she there too?

  6. What story??? All you know is that people were reassigned. There isn’t even a report as to why. So, I say again, what story? That Lopin thinks it must be nefarious?

    • You can’t know that I am wrong unless you have talked to Barbara Burke. BTW, from your last comment I gather you concede that I am accurately reporting the transfers. Am I right about that or are you just a mindless Hynes groupie?

  7. I don’t know anything about the transfers – I just read your story, and I accept that fact because you seem to have solid evidence that they occurred. My problem with the rest of your story is that you (admittedly) have no clue about why the transfers happened, yet you conclude that something devious was behind it. You have no basis for this other than your usual, unsupported tripe about Hynes being a tyrant. Basically, you’re a spreader of rumor and theory, disguised as fact.

    I’m also not surprised that your most common retort is that I must be a friend of Hynes. Can’t anyone respond to clear illogic without being a “groupie” for the other side?! I’m pro-Hynes but I am not close to him nor have I had anything to do with his campaign. I just appreciate all the good he has done over the years. That being said, even if I was “close” to him, why would my opinion matter any less that your completely biased and subjective perspective, which is just as if not more slanted from objectivity?

    • I concede my use of the term “groupie” was intemperate. My apologies. However, I get the impression that you are indeed a supporter of Charles Hynes who is inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Obviously, I am not a supporter of Hynes, to say the least. However, I still maintain a clear boundary between what I know as fact and what I speculate about. Speculation, opinions, suppositions are all valid as long as they are clearly labelled as such. As you conceded, my report about the occurrence of the transfers is a fact. I have now included an image of that transfer memo into the body of the article.

      My assertions about the reason’s for the transfer are also facts, though for obvious reasons, the KCDA did not put them into writing, so I cannot post a confirming document.

      I stated my information from sources within the KCDA on why Barbara Burke was transferred; a punitive demotion for insisting on following the law rather than official directive. We can debate whether my facts are right. But I assume you would agree that if my facts are right this is indeed sinister. I have more information I have not shared. However, even without those additional facts, there is a problem if I have my facts right.

      Regarding Mr.Bruno I stated, that I did not know the reason. I said I could see some quite plausible explanation which in no way reflects poorly on Mr. Bruno or the KCDA. To wit, he got a rotation which he may have requested to further his professional development in moving from being a press officer to becoming an attorney. I did not imply anything sinister about that transfer.

  8. Sherlock,wrong about Hynes,Wrong about Wilde.It is clear you have not read about the Wilde trial.Your comments about Wildes unsavory private life speaks volumes about your outlook.Do you use the name of Sherlock because it is fictional character.Of course this is all off point.The voters can and will decide if the Hynes era is over.I can only hope voters view the Hynes record In its entirety.

    • John Nolan, I share your hope that “voters view the Hynes record in its entirety.” The prosecutorial misconduct of his office now being revealed in the cases of Jabbar Collins, David Ranta, Derrick Hamilton, and others extend back to the beginning of Hynes’ DA career. Many of those implicated hold high level positions all over the KCDA office.

      As for Oscar Wilde, please enlighten us on why you feel Sherlock is wrong about Oscar Wilde. Quotes would dandy, since he was one of the wittiest of men.

  9. The person Wilde sued hired Private Detectives.These Detectives paid people to lie about Wilde.In the face of what promised to be a Circus Wilde withdrew the suit.The person whom Wilde sued was rich and titled ,he got the media at the time to spread these lies.While it is true Wilde was Gay he was never unsavory and never in bad taste.

  10. I still don’t see anything about why Burke was transferred. You now say it was for “following the law.” What does that mean? What did she do that constituted, “following the law,” and which got her transferred? Of course I agree that if she did something ethical and proper, only to be penalized for it, then this would be a “sinister” act. But you haven’t said one thing that indicates this to be so. Are you implying that a “surce” of yours says she was transferred for “following e law”? If so, what does that source say she did? You obviously have no answer to these simple questions, or you would have printed them by now. We’ve gone back and forth several times now and you still don’t state what she did to merit an undeserved punishment. To me, this calls into question every speculation and theory that you print.

    • Indeed, we have gone back and forth. There are finite limits to what I will say on this blog. Those that read me and find me credible about facts (including Joe Hynes) will accept my say-so. Others will not. Suffice it to say the responses to the Jabbar Collins discovery motions and supeonas require decisions within the KCDA about what does and does not need to be turned over based on various construals of the wording of motions which are granted, and based on interpretations of relevance to the stated request. It should seem obvious that the KCDA may have material which it would prefer not turning over because of its potential to embarrass them. In some cases a competent worker like Ms. Burke might feel the decisions of her bosses, if carried out, would violate the law and constitute failure to comply with a legally binding discovery requirement. If she were asked to participate some way in the action she might feel caught between her ethical obligation as an officer of the court and her standing with her boss(es) on the 19th floor. That is what happened.

      If it does not satisfy you, what can I say? We will have to agree to disagree. I rest on my reputation for credible and accurate reporting. You can choose to disbelieve me in this case or in general. Joe Hynes doesn’t worry about blogs who routinely get facts wrong. Reporters of the MSM ignore them after they conclude they have been given a bum lead. Likewise, staff of the KCDA can recognize a blogger or reporter who has it all wrong. If so, as a defender of Joe Hynes, do not waste your time disagreeing; my blog will have no effect.

      HOWEVER, if I am not bluffing…

  11. I appreciate your willingness to engage. We will indeed agree to disagree. I have worked for too many government and non-governmental institutions alike, and seen far too many cases that were easy to (inaccurately) misconstrue from the “outside,” to make harsh conclusions without real facts. I recognize that you don’t always have them in order to support what you believe, and there is nothing wrong with asking questions and speculating. I just think that you too often go the extra step of concluding. It’s your blog, but you should be scrutinized with the same level of skepticism with which you afford the workings of the KCDA.

  12. Thank you for your reply. I couldn’t agree more that there are too many folks in every arena of life who confuse suppositions or even plausibly possible inferences with facts. Often, faced with claims without access to the underlying facts all of us rely on the credibility of a source (in terms of level-headedness, etc). You seem inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to Charles Hynes and to doubt my level-headedness and truthfulness. I appreciate civil disagreement. I suspect in time you will come to find my reporting credible (if you follow my output) and you will lose your confidence in Hynes. But either way, thank you for your participation here.

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