Native LI'er named state inspector general

Catherine Leahy Scott, a native Long Islander who Catherine Leahy Scott, a native Long Islander who has served as acting New York inspector general since February of 2012, was appointed to the permanent position. (May 2, 2013) Photo Credit: handout

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Catherine Leahy Scott, a native Long Islander who has served as acting New York inspector general since February of 2012, on Thursday was appointed to the permanent position.

Leahy Scott, who grew up in Levittown and earned bachelor and law degrees from Hofstra University, had served previously as first deputy inspector general for the state. She has also been an assistant state attorney general, investigating white-collar fraud and public integrity cases. She spent five years in private practice in Columbia County, N.Y, where she also spent 13 years in the district attorney's office -- eight as chief assistant DA.

Leahy Scott attended St. James Catholic School in Seaford, and went on to Island Trees Junior and Senior High School in Levittown.

Leahy Scott took on the acting inspector general position last year when former inspector general, Ellen Biben, was named executive director for the state's Joint Commission on Public Ethics. Biben announced this week that she's leaving that post for the private sector.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, in a statement, said Leahy Scott's "record as a fair, independent and tenacious attorney makes her highly qualified to continue this work as our State's Inspector General."

The inspector general's office had been investigating the Long Island Power Authority since April, 2011, and turned over its findings to the Moreland Commission empaneled to look into utility performance in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, Newsday has reported.

Leahy Scott's investigators have also been looking into complaints of commercial and recreational fishermen and women on Long Island since last year, fishermen who have been interviewed have confirmed in Newsday reports. Last year, Newsday reported on cases in which fish were seized in enforcement actions without due process, among other problems. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has since suspended the seizures.

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The inspector general's office has also been looking into charitable giving and related practices at the New York Power Authority under former chief executive Richard Kessel, who has denied any wrongdoing, Newsday has reported.

Inspector general spokesman William Reynolds declined to confirm or deny the existence of any investigations. Leahy Scott, who is married and lives in a Columbia County with her husband and two children, was named Hofstra University's Woman of the Year in 1981.

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