DA Drops Charges In Kinsella Social Host Case

Former Sag Harbor School Board President Susan Kinsella.
Former Sag Harbor School Board President Susan Guinchard-Kinsella.

By Stephen J. Kotz

The attorney for Susan Guinchard-Kinsella, the former Sag Harbor School Board president who was charged last winter with allowing underaged drinking at her North Haven home, said he had been notified on Wednesday morning that the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office had agreed to dismiss the charges.

Daniel Rodgers, a Southampton defense attorney, said the DA’s office had effectively admitted it did not have a case. “My client had to pay a hefty price for this,” he said. “She had to answer to this over and over.”

Mr. Rodgers, who had requested a speedy trial ever since Ms. Kinsella was arrested last February, said the DA’s office had continually requested adjournments. He said he had expected the case to go to trial on Thursday, June 29, before Southampton Town Justice Deborah Kooperstein until he learned of the dismissal.

Ms. Kinsella was charged with a misdemeanor count of allowing underaged drinking, or violating the Suffolk County social hosting law, at her home on Barclay Drive on January 27 after Pierson High School held its annual “Spirit Night.”

Police investigated after receiving an anonymous tip, but did not arrest Ms. Kinsella until three weeks later.

Mr. Rodgers said Ms. Kinsella was in her own room on the second floor and unaware that drinking was going on in the basement at a party hosted by her daughter, until police arrived. He said she immediately shut the party down and made sure the students who were there had safe transportation home.

“This is political correctness run amok,” said Mr. Rodgers. “They waited three weeks before they charged her. Clearly, someone intervened to bring this specious charge, and that’s wrong.”