Politics

Donovan Accused of Helping Partner’s Son Out of Drug Bust

Timothy O’Connell was arrested for heroin possession and sale

Rep. Dan Donovan, R-N.Y., allegedly helped his girlfriend’s son get cleared of drug charges. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Republican Rep. Dan Donovan has been accused of using his position to help his partner’s son get out of a heroin-related arrest in 2015.

A complaint filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics last week said the congressman from Staten Island, a former district attorney, stepped in after Timothy O’Connell, then 19, and a friend were arrested for “criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance (heroin),” the New York Post reported.

O’Connell is the son of Donovan’s domestic partner Serena Stonick.

“Later that evening, Donovan, while serving in Congress and as a former District Attorney, visited the 122 Precinct and used his position to illegally request that officers issue O’Connell and [a friend] a ‘desk appearance ticket’ instead of proceeding with normal arrest protocols,” the complaint reads. “This intervention allowed the detained to be immediately released from custody, as well as the records to be sealed.”

Police confirmed that O’Connell and a woman who was also 19 at the time were arrested together on December 2015. The charge was dismissed the following year.

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Donovan spokeswoman Pat Ryan told the newspaper the congressman never inserted himself into the process and described the accusations as a political hit job.

“Like many families, Dan has been dealing with a loved one’s opioid addiction — in private until now. These allegations are not only 100 percent false, but Dan has a long history of recusing himself from matters involving close friends and family,” Ryan said.

Donovan and Stonick have been dating since 2011 and have a daughter together. He was elected in a 2015 special election to replace former Rep. Michael G. Grimm, who resigned after being indicted for tax evasion, hiring undocumented workers, and perjury under oath. Grimm is now seeking a comeback and challenging Donovan in the Republican primary.

“This is a disgusting, vicious and false attack on a young man’s struggle with addiction to score political points two months before an election,” Ryan told the New York Post.

Ryan also told the newspaper that when Donovan and Stonick began dating, Stonick disclosed that she also had a daughter battling addiction and was in drug treatment court. Donovan requested and was granted a special prosecutor in that case, Ryan said.

Citing confidentiality rules, the OCE did not comment on the accusations.

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