Officials: E. Rockaway fire chief misused vehicle, resigns

East Rockaway's fire chief, Steven Torborg, has resigned East Rockaway's fire chief, Steven Torborg, has resigned after village leaders learned via GPS records that he was using a fire department vehicle for a series of romantic trysts in the woods, village officials said. Photo Credit: Handout; Amy Onorato

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East Rockaway's fire chief has resigned after village leaders learned via GPS records that he was using a fire department vehicle for a series of romantic trysts in the woods, village officials said yesterday.

The chief, Steven Torborg, resigned March 22 after village officials told him he would otherwise "face charges regarding conduct unbecoming a chief officer of the department and the misuse of his assigned official village vehicle," according to village documents that were first obtained by News 12 Long Island.

The village attorney, John Ryan, hired a private investigator to track Torborg's department vehicle after GPS records showed the vehicle making a late-night stop in a "remote and wooded location" for more than 1 1/2 hours near Garden City, records state.

The investigator found Torborg and a Levittown resident "in various stages of undress," states a report by the investigator, whose name is redacted on village documents.

GPS reports show 12 stops to the off-road location between Dec. 9 and March 18, village records state.

The village is happy to put the incident in the past, Ryan said. "It's one of the classic cases of a self-inflicted wound by the chief," Ryan said. "It was very unnecessary and very unfortunate. Nobody wins here. Let's move on."

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Edward Reicherter has replaced Torborg as chief of the department, which is a volunteer department and an arm of the village. The department's fire council is considering whether Torborg will be allowed to stay a member, Ryan said.

Torborg told News 12 that the village's allegations "give an inaccurate and incomplete picture of the circumstances" surrounding his resignation as chief.

"I remain extremely proud of my tenure as chief and the service I have provided to the community," Torborg told News 12. He did not return a call for comment from Newsday.

Reicherter declined to comment beyond confirming that he is the new chief.

The village trustee board gave Torborg the offer to resign or face charges at a private meeting on March 22, which was the day he resigned, village records state.

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The village trustees consider Torborg's actions "very disconcerting and illicit," records state.

Village Mayor Francis T. Lenahan Jr. declined to comment through a village spokeswoman. Attempts to reach the four other members of the trustee board were not successful.

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