De Blasio press secretary bails out to return to Chevron Shakedown work

This week we saw a wrinkle in the news out of the Big Apple which ties together two of our favorite stories. The troubles swirling around New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio continue as state and federal investigators peer more deeply into his multi-million dollar slush funds, and now some of the rats seem to be abandoning ship. Hizzonerr’s press secretary, Karen Hinton, has suddenly realized that she has pressing business elsewhere and will be departing to pursue other opportunities. Of course, this has nothing to do with the scandals engulfing the office of her boss. Perish the thought. (New York Post)

Amid a swirl of probes of the administration, Mayor de Blasio’s press secretary revealed on Thursday that she’s resigning from her post after having served for roughly a year.

City officials insisted the departure of Karen Hinton – slated for after the fiscal ’17 budget is adopted in June – has nothing to do with the flurry of investigations of Hizzoner’s fundraising, an NYPD gifts-for-favors scandal and a rotten LES real estate deal.

They said she initially submitted her resignation papers on April 6 – around the time The Post broke the story about the federal probe of high-ranking NYPD officers.

Yes, of course. Turning in your notice of resignation after barely a year on the job at the same moment that the federal wolves arrive at the door is no doubt just one of those coincidences which are bound to happen on occasion in an infinite universe. Why would we think otherwise? But since Ms. Hinton is back in the news, it’s also worth noting not only the job she’s leaving, but the one she’s going back to. And that involves another name which will be familiar to regular readers… Steven Donziger.

Hinton, whose departure was first reported by The New York Times, called her work for the mayor a “privilege,” and said she plans to return to her prior gig of working with Ecuadorians in a drawn-out lawsuit against Chevron.

Yes, there seems to be a pattern here. Most of our readers will recall the years of coverage we’ve done on the Chevron Shakedown, a shady effort spearheaded by New York attorney Steven Donziger who, working with American environmental groups and the incredibly corrupt court system in Ecuador, attempted to pick the pockets of Chevron to the tune of billions of dollars. Over at National Review, Jack Fowler is well versed on the subject and welcomes Karen back into the nasty fray.

Welcome back, Karen. We refer Corner readers to Kevin Williamson’s 2014 report on how Ms. Hinton — the onetime mouthpiece for trial lawyer Steven Donziger (the mastermind, if you can really call him that, behind the scheme to turn Chevron into the Left’s ATM) and for Andrew Cuomo, when the New York governor rode roughshod over America as HUD secretary for Bill Clinton — tried to negotiate a 5 percent take on the billions that would come from an expected judgment against Chevron (plus this relative pittance: a $10,000 monthly retainer for her Chevron-bashing services).

That’s quite the resume that Hinton has amassed. Cuomo and de Blasio are currently the toxic twins of New York politics, epitomizing the scandals which are threatening to blow up the Democratic Party in both Albany and Manhattan, and her old boss in the Chevron deal isn’t doing much better. Donziger’s case has essentially collapsed, with one court ruling after another finding that the suit was without merit and based on corruption and fraud from beginning to end. Numerous investment groups on both sides of the Atlantic who funded the shakedown in exchange for a cut of the anticipated settlement have sucked up their losses and signed their interest in the case over to Chevron. While there’s another front in that battle currently playing out in Canada, their batting average is essentially zero at this point.

But as Fowler says, welcome back, Karen. We’ll be keeping our eyes open for how you and Mister Donziger do in the coming months.


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