James Joseph Hines

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James Joseph Hines (December 18, 1876 – March 26, 1957) was a Democratic Party politician and one of the most powerful leaders of Tammany Hall in New York City.


In his early years, Hines acted as a caretaker to residents in New York's Eleventh Assembly District.[1] This helped him win support and influence over the area's residents.[1] In the 1920s and 1930s, Hines maintained "absolute power" over his district and was arguably the most powerful political boss in Tammany Hall.[1]

Jimmy Walker's election as Mayor of New York City would also firmly establish Hines' influence over the local political scene[1] As boss of Tammany Hall's Eleventh Assembly District in uptown Manhattan,[1] Hines had access to various sources of wealth and developed close ties with many mobsters such as Lucky Luciano.,[1] leader of the city's dominant Luciano crime family.[2]

In 1932, New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for President and wanted to weaken Tammany Hall.[3] Walker, who was tainted by allegations of corruption and was a threat to Roosevelt's campaign,[4] into resigning.[4] Seeing Tammany Hall as a political liability, Roosevelt decided to appoint a new mayor, a privilege the New York Governor had after any mayor of New York City resigned, and focused on backing a candidate who would destroy Tammany Hall's power for good.[5]

Liberal Republican Fiorello LaGuardia, a former Representative and a fierce opponent of Tammany Hall whom Hines had successfully forced from power in the 1932 Congressional election,[6] was elected mayor in 1933, and Tammany Hall's longtime influence over local politicians faded.[7] Hines would not fall. After becoming President, Roosevelt appointed Hines to oversee the U.S. civil service's patronage system for employees in the Manhattan District.[1] Hines' empire grew soon afterward.[1]

In 1938, Hines was accused of being involved in the policy racket with Dutch Schultz (who was murdered in 1935) and Dixie Davis and of violating the "lottery laws". Manhattan District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey would successfully get Hines convicted on 13 counts of racketeering.[1] Hines provided protection for the policy racket in Harlem and other sections of New York. Hines was charged with influencing Magistrates Capshaw and Erwin to throw out policy cases in which the other conspirators had an interest and to influence former District Attorney William C. Dodge to 'go easy' on policy prosecutions. Hines was alleged to have received a cut in the proceeds of the policy racket.

After the first trial ended in a mistrial, he was charged again and Charles Cooper Nott, Jr. presided over the second trial.[8][9]

He died on March 26, 1957 at the Long Beach Memorial Hospital.[10]


  • 1876 Birth on December 18
  • 1904 Married Geneva E. Cox, had three children
  • 1912 Election for New York City Eleventh Assembly District
  • 1913 Chief Clerk to the Board of Aldermen
  • 1918 Lieutenant in the Motor Transport Corps during World War I
  • 1920 Won primary in New York City Eleventh Assembly District
  • 1921 Lost election to become Manhattan Borough President
  • 1926 Jimmy Walker is elected mayor of New York and Hines establishes a foothold in Tammany Hall.[1]
  • 1932-Plays a major role in unseating popular anti-Tammany Hall Congressman Fiorello LaGuardia. However, LaGuardia would be elected Mayor of New York City the following year and Tammany Hall would soon lose its longtime control over the city's political scene
  • 1933 After endorsing Roosevelt for President, Roosevelt appoints him to oversee the US Civil Service's patronage system in the Manhattan District. With this new post, his hold on power is able to withstand LaGuardia's popular purge of Tammany Hall
  • 1938 Indicted for protection of the Dutch Schultz mob and for complicity in a lottery or numbers game in August
  • 1938 Mistrial declared by New York General Sessions Court Justice Pecora on September 12
  • 1939 Hines found guilty of all charges in a New York General Sessions Court retrial in February
  • 1939 Sentenced to 4–8 years in prison on March 23
  • 1944 Hines paroled on September 12
  • 1957 Death on March 26


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "HISTORICAL NOTES: One Man's Army". Time. April 8, 1957. 
  2. ^ "Articles/Biographies/Criminals/Costello, Frank". Free Information Society. 
  3. ^ http://www.sparknotes.com/biography/fdr/section2.rhtml
  4. ^ a b http://www.observer.com/2000/01/the-making-of-fdr-1932-a-rollicking-new-york-tale/
  5. ^ "National Affairs: Jimmy Walker, Tsar". Time. September 16, 1940. 
  6. ^ Stolberg, Mary M. Fighting Organised Crime: Politics, Justice, and the Legacy of Thomas E. Dewey (1995) pg. 229
  7. ^ http://www.nyc.gov/html/nyc100/html/classroom/hist_info/mayors.html#laguardia
  8. ^ Fulton, William (January 3, 1939). "2nd Hines Trial In Racket Case To Open Today". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-06-05. Judge Charles Cooper Nott Jr. of General Sessions, a veteran of twenty-five years ... Judge Nott, who is 69 years old, was elected to the bench as a Republican ... 
  9. ^ "Judge Nott Uses Powers To Balk Hines Mistrial". Chicago Tribune. February 26, 1939. Retrieved 2010-06-05. Special General Sessions Judge Charles C. Nott, Jr. before whom Tammany Leader James J. Hines was tried and convicted of conspiracy ... 
  10. ^ "Jimmy Hines Dead. Ex-Tammany Chief. Jimmy Hines, 80, Dies In Hospital Admirers Remained Faithful Seldom Lost A Fight". New York Times. March 26, 1957. Retrieved 2010-06-03. James J. Hines, a former New York Democratic leader, died of a kidney ailment early today at Long Beach Memorial Hospital. He was 80 years old 

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