DONOVAN’S HENCHMAN?: WILLIAM SMITH IS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STEINY’S PUB “FILE-GATE” CONTROVERSEY

All politicians have “fixers” who will get their own hands dirty rather than have the politician potentially expose the politician to negative fallout.  Meet Staten Island Republican “fixer” William J. Smith.

William J. Smith is a political insider and is part of the Molinari wing of the fractured Staten Island Republican party (at odds with the Fossella wing of the Republican Party).  If you remember, before Dan Donovan became District Attorney, he was Borough President Molinari’s Chief of Staff.  William J. Smith is now the District Director for Staten Island’s U.S. House Representative Michael G. Grimm (another Molinari protégé), a post which he has held in the beginning Jan 2011.

Prior to working for Michael Grimm, William J. Smith worked for the Richmond County District Attorney's Office as Communications Director from April 2004 to December 2010.  According to William J. Smith’s own Facebook page:

Basically I was the government and political spin doctor for Staten Island D.A. Dan Donovan. If there was a speech to be written, a press release to be done, or a mess to be cleaned up – all mine.

William J. Smith, as an employee in the public trust, employed by taxpayer dollars, should be held to account on this statement: exactly which messes did he “clean up”?  Additionally, how did he go about cleaning these messes?  Was the District Attorney’s Office or the Public Trust compromised?  Did Mr. Smith break the law or witness a violation of rights in his activities as a “fixer”?   

THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN OR THE MAN BEHIND THE COVER-UP?: William J. Smith, the current District Director for Rep. Michael Grimm was, by his own admission the “government and political spin doctor for Staten Island D.A. Dan Donovan.”  The question is whether he was “smoke and mirrors” like the Wizard of Oz (left), or “bullets and bracelets” like convicted Watergate Nixon henchman G. Gordon Liddy (right).

Maybe William J. Smith should answer some questions about how the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office “cleaned up the mess” of a convict coming into possession of confidential case files left at Steiny’s Pub in St. George by an intoxicated Assistant District Attorney.  Let me say this again: A CONVICT had access to the District Attorney’s Office’s Confidential Files without the District Attorney’s Office having any idea.

Evidently, according to a source close to the D.A.’s Office, a now-former Assistant District Attorney from Dan Donovan’s Office took confidential files from the 130 Stuyvesant Place Office and had them at Steiny’s Pub on Hyatt Place while he was drinking.  The ADA had drunk a bit too much to remember to take the files with him and they were left at the bar to be later discovered and taken by a convict.  Knowing that what he had was extremely valuable, the convict, though his criminal attorney, contacted the District Attorney’s Office to “come to a deal” on behalf of his client in exchange for the confidential files. 

Enter William J. Smith.  According to the source, William J. Smith was intimately involved with the embarrassing “FILE-GATE” incident, which was magically kept out of the local papers, including the Staten Island Advance.  However, to the source’s knowledge, NO DISCLOSURE WAS MADE TO THE DEFENDANTS OR THEIR ATTORNEYS that confidential files may have been compromised. 

Common sense states that if a convict could use confidential files to his own advantage after a single call to Dan Donovan’s Office, he could do the same with the information contained therein with any number of other individuals.  For example, if the convict knew a defendant, he could have added or destroyed potentially incriminating information in the file based upon whether or not he was paid bribe money.  These compromised confidential files were NEVER IDENTIFIED BY THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE and call into serious question any and all convictions that Dan Donovan’s Office may have built on those case files.

FILE-GATE, the failure to disclose this serious breach of security, is also potential attorney misconduct by the District Attorney’s office.  The public has a right to know:

  1. Is this the first time this has happened under Dan Donovan’s watch?
  2. What files were compromised?
  3. What back room deals were struck, and by whom?
  4. Was the law broken or were individual’s rights violated?
  5. Was Dan Donovan aware of this conduct? 
  6. What was Dan Donovan and William J. Smith’s level of participation?   

The District Attorney’s Office must be held to the same standard as everyone else and not be able to “cover-up” its problems by the actions of political operatives.  In fact, the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of Staten Island should be above the political fray. 

 

In light of FILE-GATE, can Staten Island afford to trust the likes of Dan Donovan and his henchman William J. Smith?