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NYS emergency exec who diverted crew home settles ethics case

Steven Kuhr in his East Northport office on

Steven Kuhr in his East Northport office on May 26, 2011. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

ALBANY - The state director of emergency management who Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo fired during the response to superstorm Sandy for using a crew to remove a tree from his East Northport driveway has settled an ethics case against him.

Steven Kuhr agreed to pay $4,000 and end the charge that he used his official position to secure unwarranted privileges, according to a report from the Joint Commission on Public Ethics released Tuesday.

On Oct. 31, 2012, Cuomo fired his $153,000-a-year emergency management director for diverting a crew to remove the tree.

In the settlement released Tuesday by JCOPE, Kuhr acknowledged that while working in Albany he "caused an emergency response crew to respond to his personal residence . . . in order to clear away portions of a fallen tree that blocked access to his house."

A request for comment left Tuesday with Kuhr's attorney wasn't immediately returned.

 "For one manager to divert precious resources for his own benefit is simply unacceptable," said executive director Letizia Tagliafierro of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics,

Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott who investigated the case said the settlement sends "a clear message that the state will not tolerate a top public servant compromising the mission of his office for his own personal gain."

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