For the past thirty plus years, Joseph E. Spinnato has been directly involved in the betterment of life in and for New York. In his current capacity as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc., he has brought to this venerable association a new image and direction. He has moved the one hundred thirty year old organization into a more active and visible role in the city. The Association represents more than 230 hotels, employs more than 30,000 people and generates billions of dollars in revenues for the city.
In 1982, then Mayor Edward I. Koch appointed Mr. Spinnato as the Fire Commissioner of New York City. As Fire Commissioner, a position he held for over 5 years prior to his appointment to the Hotel Association, Spinnato was responsible for the fire protection of the city and its 7 1/2 million residents. Before joining the Fire Department, Mr. Spinnato served as First Assistant to the Special Prosecutor for Nursing Homes for 5 years. Previously, he was at the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office for 10 years serving as First Assistant to the District Attorney and also Chief of the Rackets Bureau.
Mr. Spinnato’s humanitarian interests are extensive and varied. He is a Knight of Malta, served as the Lieutenant of the Knights of the Holy Sepluchre of the Eastern Lieutenancy for 5 years, and in 2007 was appointed to the Grand Magisterium of Holy Sepulchre in Rome. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors of City Harvest, the Cardinal’s Committee for Charity, Board of Directors of Just One Break, Inc., and Board of Directors of the Big Apple Greeters, Inc. He received the 1989 Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee, in 1990 he received the Cardinal’s Award from His Eminence John Cardinal O’Connor, in 1992 he received the Jerusalem Founders Man of the Year Award from the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem, and in 2001 he received the International Brotherhood Award from Bikor Cholim Hospital, also in Jerusalem.
In 1987 Mr. Spinnato received an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law Degree from St. John’s University, and in 1991 Governor Mario Cuomo appointed Mr. Spinnato to the Board of Governors of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation (Jacob K. Javits Convention Center), a position he still holds. Mr. Spinnato also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation under Governor George E. Pataki.
A quintessential New Yorker, Spinnato was born in Queens and attended public schools there until he entered LaSalle Military Academy in Oakdale, New York. He graduated St. John’s University in Hillcrest and received his law degree from the University of Miami Law School in Coral Gables, Florida. Mr. Spinnato is married to the former Madeline Romano, a graduate of St. John=s University at Hillcrest. They have one daughter, Janine, who graduated from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, and from St. John’s University School of Law. Her husband, Sean P. Leyden, is also an attorney and is a partner with the law firm of Garfunkel, Wild & Travis. They have three children, Sean Joseph, Jason Michael and Joseph Terence.