SUNNYSIDE — Former Queens City Councilman Walter McCaffrey, who represented Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City for more than a decade, died on Wednesday. He was 64 years old.
Friends of the former councilman told the New York Daily News that he died as a result of health problems complicated by a recent car accident, the paper reported.
McCaffrey was elected to the City Council in 1985 and served until he was term-limited in 2001.
In 2000, he challenged Queens Representative Joseph Crowley for his seat in Congress but dropped out of the race after accusations arose that he used campaign funds for personal expenses, according to the New York Times. McCaffrey maintained at the time that he'd done nothing wrong, the paper reported.
He later went on to work as a lobbyist, city records show.
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who holds McCaffrey's former seat in the 26th District, called him a "political giant."
"He was one of the smartest and most clever elected officials in the history of Western Queens," Van Bramer said in a statement. "Walter knew politics and the district better than just about anyone."
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall recalled McCaffrey as an effective and "eloquent" lawmaker.
"When he stood in the Council Chamber to speak — everyone listened," she said in a statement.