Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes may be the only candidate to have prosecuted a member of the wealthy Chehebar family, which owns a chain of clothing stores, but he’s hardly the only one to rake in campaign donations from the clan.
The New York Post reported Monday that Hynes accepted some $80,000 from donors it said were tied to the family of Isaac Chehebar who received a six-month sentence from Hynes’ office after an auto accident in which the 21-year-old hit and killed two sisters out for a Sunday stroll on Ocean Parkway in 2001. Hynes said the plea bargain was expressly approved by the victims’ family, although the father of the girls later expressed dismay at the sentence.
Fast forward to 2004: Hynes holds a fundraiser in Deal, N.J., a seaside town that is summer home to many wealthy Sephardic Jewish families, and an increasingly popular campaign watering hole for city pols on the make. Several business associates of the Chehebars are among those attending. A Hynes spokesman said the campaign immediately returned two checks from Chehebar family members, but accepted some $10,000 from business associates without realizing the connection to the family.
The donations were hardly unique. Campaign records show the Chehebars and their associates have been a campaign treasure trove for years, going back to Rudy Giuliani’s 1989 campaign when they shelled out over $10,000 to him. This year alone, Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner has hauled in $15,000 from the family, and another $24,000 from associates, filings show. Two other mayoral wannabes, Gifford Miller and Fernando Ferrer, have received $11,400 and $9,950. Others receiving donations this year include Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, along with councilmembers Mike Nelson, James Sanders, James Gennaro, and Dominic Recchia.