Matt Doheny's campaign on Friday released 34 pages of documents relating to two boating-under-the-influence charges from July 2004.
Doug Hoffman, Doheny's opponent for the Republican congressional nod in New York's 23rd Congressional District, called on Doheny to release the paperwork Friday morning, which he did later that day. Doheny had shown the papers to the Watertown Daily Times, which first reported the story on Tuesday, but the campaign said it no longer had them when contacted by the Enterprise and other media outlets following up.
"It is incumbent upon Matt Doheny to be open and honest about the circumstances surrounding these arrests and give the voters of our district a clear, unvarnished view of what transpired," Hoffman said.
(Enterprise file photo)
Doheny, a Watertown investor and portfolio manager who grew up in Alexandria Bay, said Friday he voluntarily shared the paperwork with the Times because the paper was working on a profile of him, and that he was making them more widely available due to inaccuracies in Hoffman's release. The incidents were in 2004, not 2006 as Hoffman's release stated. Also, although Doheny was handcuffed during the first incident and his boat moored, he was never arrested, which is what Hoffman's statement says. The tickets he was issued were for civil rather than criminal court, and the Coast Guard officers made it clear in their documentation that he was not under arrest.
Doheny was sentenced by a Coast Guard Civil Penalty Hearing Officer in both cases. The first time, he paid a $1,000 fine for boating under the influence and $75 for not having a required personal flotation device for the second he paid $1,425 total, $1,000 for boating under the influence and the rest for floatation device violations and not having a state registration certificate on the vessel.
The Republican primary is Sept. 14. Hoffman is also on the Conservative line, Doheny on the Independence. Doheny has said he would drop out of the race if he loses the primary; Hoffman has not. The Democratic incumbent, who is running for re-election, is Bill Owens of Plattsburgh.
Editor's note: This article has been corrected to state that the Coast Guard did not arrest Matt Doheny. The ticket he was issued was in civil rather than criminal court, and the Coast Guard officers made it clear in their documentation that he was not under arrest. The Enterprise regrets the error.
Doheny's first BUI stop was around 3:20 a.m. on July 10, 2004 in Alexandria Bay. The second was around 2 a.m. on July 24 in the St. Lawrence River just off Alexandria Bay. Both stops were near his private island. The paperwork confirms previous reports that Doheny was belligerent during the first incident, cooperative the second time.
Statements from the Coast Guard officers who boarded the vessel on July 10 say Doheny yelled at them and made threatening movements, questioned their authority to board the boat, refused to say whether he had been drinking but was stumbling and had slurred speech. He pulled away as they tried to handcuff him and was still combative when state police arrived on the scene. Doheny failed three of the seven field sobriety tests and then failed to take the breathalyzer correctly after several tries, not blowing enough air into it.
The second time, Doheny admitted to having drunk five beers and one vodka with Red Bull earlier, according to the officers' statements. Both boarding officers said he was cooperative. They brought Doheny onto the Coast Guard boat and docked Doheny's boat to allow his guests to disembark before conducting the field sobriety tests. Doheny also failed to blow into the breathalyzer hard enough after numerous tries, but ended up doing it and registering a blood alcohol content of .096.
Hoffman noted that his son is a decorated state trooper. Douglas T. Hoffman (the father is Douglas L.) was honored after being injured in an August 2007 shooting incident in Tupper Lake.
"I quite frankly find it disturbing that a candidate for Congress would act this way with individuals who are sworn to protect us," Hoffman said.
Doheny has said repeatedly that he regrets the incidents and hasn't done anything similar since then. He told the Times he has "nothing but deep respect for all forms of law enforcement."
Contact Nathan Brown at 891-2600 ext. 26 or email@example.com.