Last week, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles (Joe) Hynes was busy walking back his comments about the Hassidic community being worse than the mafia when it comes to witness intimidation.
Meanwhile he is having a hard time summoning up the will to deal with a real Mafioso, Joseph Lanni, who is a made guy with the Gambino crime family. Lanni just has too many connections to Hynes.He is the brother of Anthony Lanni, a Detective Investigator (DI) who is married to Susan Quirk, Director of Legal Hiring at KCDA. She, in turn, is the daughter of Hynes’ four-time campaign manager, Dennis Quirk, head of the New York State Court Officers Association. Dennis is a pugnacious guy. When a judge criticized him he responded, “”If they want a war, I don’t take prisoners. I take body bags.” I suppose his son-in-law’s brother could be handy if it comes to that.
Almost four years ago (1/7/10), with great fanfare, Hynes leaked a story to the Daily News, “DA nears sting of gambling ring run by Gambino mobsters in Brooklyn, Staten Island.” According to the article, “Among the high-ranking Gambino mobsters named are Pietro Inzerillo and Joseph Lanni, who operate the Web site http://www.touchdownbets.com, law enforcement sources and documents in Brooklyn Supreme Court show.”
As with many press releases by Hynes, the phrase “DA nears sting,” has to be taken with a grain of salt, since the arrests did not happen for almost another half year till June 28th. This, in spite of the fact that the Daily News article claims, “The two year investigation…used extensive wiretaps and surveillance.”
The targeted group, according to the Wall Street Journal, “include six alleged members of the Gambino crime family’s “18th Avenue Crew,” a Brooklyn-based group, who are accused of taking bets through Touchdownbets.com.” Hynes and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly informed the press that, “Reputed Gambino family soldier Pietro “Tall Pete” Inzerillo, 43, is charged with running the operation, with fellow reputed Gambino soldier Joseph Lanni, 39, serving as his deputy.”
The arrest led to case # 05351-2010 which includes Inzerillo, Lanni, and four other “associates.” New York State’s eCourts WebCrims site lists over 550 felony indictments for Lanni: promoting gambling, criminal usury, grand larceny by extortion, enterprise corruption (PL460.20 1A B Felony & top charge), and conspiracy. In theory, if sentenced to the max, Jospeh Lanni would not be out until a Super Bowl in the fourth millennium. In reality, Joseph Lanni has never spent a night in jail on this indictment though he did get sentenced to jail by the feds for thirty months for similar crimes on July 27, 2000 (USA v. Dinisio et al, Eastern District of Brooklyn, Case #: 1:99-cr-00859-NG-10).
It is now five years since the investigation started, three and a half years since the news report, three years since the indictment, and nothing has happened on this case. Now it is possible that the defendants are singing their way up the mob chain. However, you are more likely to find singing canaries in a pet shop in Palermo than snitching mobsters in Canarsie. It is possible that Lanni’s relatives connected to the DA made the whole case possible but that would be improbably Quirky behavior for a family known for taking care of its own.
The Quirks are incredibly enmeshed with Joe Hynes going back to the high profile 1986 Howard Beach prosecution which helped establish Hynes’ reputation in the African American community in Brooklyn. At the time Hynes prosecuted the young men who chased Michael Griffith out onto the road. However, “the driver of the car that struck Griffith, 24-year old Dominick Blum, was not charged with any crime and was cleared by a grand jury in May 1987.” At the time there were allegations that Blum was part of the original gang that harassed Griffith. Suspiciously, according to Hynes’ own published account, Incident at Howard Beach (1990), and according to a Daily News article, Quirk “stashed in the garage of his Staten Island home the car, driven by… [Blum]. After holding the death car for three weeks to protect the evidence and the officer, he turned it over to Hynes, who was prosecuting the case.”
According to the Daily News, advancing Hyne’s career is “Quirk’s No. 1 political calling… Since 1989, he has been chief campaign strategist for Hynes, running all four district attorney races, plus his unsuccessful 1998 gubernatorial bid, often from the union’s headquarters at 321 Broadway.”
Shmarya Rosenberg reported in Failed Messiah on Hynes’ indebtedness to Quirk, which includes an unpaid loan balance of over $25,000 from his campaign as well as donations by everyone in the Quirk family including daughters who could not have earned enough to make those donations on their own. According to Rosenberg, “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.” Over time, KCDA hires have included daughter Susan Quirk, who is grossly unqualified but does all KCDA hiring, son-in-law Anthony Lanni who is a Detective Investigator and son-in-law Howard Fortel, a Supervising Accountant Investigator.
The most disturbing thing about this case is that the DA has kept it in-house instead of assigning it to a special prosecutor. The DA is just too deeply in bed with the Quirk family to be able to function objectively.
The other disturbing thing is that the major media in New York City serviced the DA’s publicity agenda and never followed up on either its processing or the deep Quirk connections to Jospeh Lanni. Instead they continue to obsess over Hynes’ throwaway line about Hasidim and the mafia, while ignoring the real mafia story of Hynes’ entanglement with unsavory characters, both Irish and Italian.
Comments and questions from a kibbitzer:
1. The singular is “mafioso” — “i”, like Hebrew “im”, is a masculine plural ending.
2. According to your sources, does the KCDA’s office have a “Moribund Cases Department,” or a “Do Not Prosecute Division,” i.e., are cases like this assigned to one or a few select ADA’s? It’s unlikely that this case is the only one of its kind. It would be administratively convenient and avoid embarrassing questions from new or naive staff members who might wonder why an old case hasn’t gone to trial.
3. Although perhaps “more honored in the breach,” there is a Constitutional right to a “speedy trial.” Three years and counting after the indictment is not “speedy,” even by judicial standards. However, delays caused by continuances sought by the defense don’t count, so a defendant can’t ask for delay after delay, and then play “gotcha.” I’m curious what the docket shows. Has the KCDA’s office, inadvertently or otherwise, been laying the foundation for a motion by the defense for dismissal based on denial of the right to a speedy trial? Or has it acquiesced in multiple motions for delay by the defense, granted by a judge asleep (or “asleep”?) at the switch? If the latter, do you suppose that (heaven forbid!) both sides are waiting and hoping for witnesses to recant, die or disappear?
In the Bible, the first question a human being asks God is, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Thank you for asking whether Susan Quirk is her brother-in-law’s keeper, and who DA Hynes’ “keeper(s)” may be. One never knows how many cockroaches will be seen scurrying for cover when one turns on the light.
1. Thank you for enlightening me on the correct usage for the singular mafioso, Joseph Lanni.
2. Kevin, your’s was a good question for a more professional corrupt operation. This case is in Rackets under Michael Vecchione. There is no need to designate individuals willing to follow specific go-slow or go-fast (e..g., Kellner) orders. The entire Division takes its clues from Mike. The few individuals who refuse to play his games, usually leave or get segregated. A notable exception is Mike Perkins who I have heard faced down Vecchione about two years ago and remains head of his unit dedicated to money laundering. Most dissenters move over or get run over.
3. It is possible that the DA is setting up the grounds for dismissal based on violation of the right to a speedy trial. If so, expect the motion sometime after the election. The word is that the other defendants are pegging their hopes on Lanni who they say has “an ace up his sleeve.” You may be right that a speedy trial motion will be the way they fix this crooked card game.
4. Thank you for pointing out that “In the Bible, the first question a human being asks God is, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Thank you for asking whether Susan Quirk is her brother-in-law’s keeper, and who DA Hynes’ “keeper(s)” may be.”
To her credit, Susie, together with her dad could answer that question without the defensive artifice of Cain when he asked the question.
5. A detail I left out of my post involves Dennis Quirk’s lucrative concessions on several of New York’s ice rings. He is proud to be a union boss who also owns six zambonis. Dennis is the perfect match for Hynes. They are both good at putting things on ice and wiping irregularities smooth and clean.
Yes, I read the linked Daily News article about union-boss Quirk’s capitalist success, although a ten year-old article isn’t “recent” — you must have misread 2003 as 2013. To play with your metaphors, (a) an ace up the sleeve will be useless if the game is run by a new DA using a different deck, and (b) even on ice, a dead fish stinks eventually. Three years is long enough; the task is to ensure that the stink wafts into the appropriate nostrils so that it can be publicized before the election.
I doubt that the DA’s office has been so chutzpedik/crass as to leave evidence of its own gross negligence (or intentional misconduct) on the publicly-accessible docket sheet, but someone should take a look just in case. (All I can get from the “WebCrims” site is that the case will next be called on September 30.) Who knows. To “metaphorize” from another game, one good catch makes the difference between a home run and an out.
I have deleted the word “recent.”
Yes, it would be nice if some reporter with decent access to courthouse records gave this story the attention it deserves. I am just working off the information available on the internet.
Is there available online a list of Archbishop Molloy H.S. grads from Hynes’s time there? See how many of them are known mob associates and how many of those have ever been “investigated” in Brooklyn. And I don’t even trust Queens DA Richard Brown who is a personal friend of Hynes, so it should also be ascertained if investigations in the neighboring borough went anywhere.