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Monday, February 25, 2013
Brooklyn DA's staffers live in NJ, violating state residency laws
Five of Brooklyn’s top prosecutors — including the head of a politically sensitive “conviction integrity” unit — knowingly flout state and city laws by living in New Jersey, The Post has learned.
And the outlaw attitude is condoned by the borough’s top lawman — District Attorney Charles Hynes.
Assistant DA John O’Mara, 60, chief of the unit that investigates questionable convictions, lives in a two-story home on a quiet Upper Montclair street, in violation of New York state law.
“All Kings County assistant district attorneys must live within the state of New York,” Brooklyn DA spokesman Jerry Schmetterer confirmed.
Schmetterer said Hynes gave his “permission” to the Garden State five but declined to say what authority the DA had to grant his employees immunity from the residency laws.
“Four lived there before DA Hynes took office, and he did not want to cause a hardship to their families by asking them to move,” Schmetterer said.
The fifth asked for and received permission to move to New Jersey for “compelling personal reasons,” he said.
State law mandates that prosecutors in cities with more than 1 million residents live within that city, although New York City law requires only that they live within New York state.
“Nobody’s denying that I live here,” O’Mara said when confronted by a reporter outside his home.
In 2005, based on O’Mara’s New Jersey residence, a Hynes political opponent filed a complaint over the Brooklyn ADAs who live outside New York City.
And Hynes himself has faced criticism in past election battles over his own address.
Political opponents have long accused the Brooklyn DA of actually living in Breezy Point, Queens.
A Hynes campaign spokesman said that the DA’s Bay Ridge home is his primary residence and that the Queens address is a summer home.
Hynes faces a tough re-election fight this year against Manhattan ADA Abe George and former federal prosecutor Ken Thompson.
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