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Queens Chronicle

The shady pol Quinn (no, not her)

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Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013 10:30 am

A certain address on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City became the focus of a political scandal in 1938.

The year before, the City Council’s predecessor, the Board of Aldermen, had been scrapped due to massive political fraud and favoritism. The new position of city councilman was to be decided by popular vote every two years and paid $5,000 a year salary (the term was increased to four years in 1945 keeping in step with the mayoralty).

Queens was to have five city councilmen — one from each state Senate district. Hugh Quinn, a Democrat from the good old days of the James A. Phillips-James A. BurkeFrank X. Smith Irish-American Democratic political machine, would become one of them — through political chicanery.

Quinn didn’t live in Queens. But he rented out an empty store at 24-29 Jackson Ave. to claim as his “residence” from which he could register and vote and be eligible to run for City Council. He won the election.

The Republicans cried foul and disputed the election, but despite the obvious fraud, the results were upheld.

Quinn was re-elected again and again, and when the four-year terms took effect, he saw his salary increase to $7,000 a year.

Then in 1949 he switched over to District 6 in Manhattan, continuing to serve on the Council until Dec. 31, 1957. In later years his one-time “residence” became a Western Union office, Borg Mechanical Co. and a consulting engineer’s office.

Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) lives in the district she represents, is originally from Glen Cove, LI and, as far as I know, is not related to Hugh Quinn.

Welcome to the discussion.