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NYS wildlife expert's actions under scrutiny

ALBANY - The state inspector general has begun an investigation into allegations that New York's longtime wildlife pathologist violated regulations, including living at his office and using government resources for private purposes, officials said yesterday.

Stephen Del Giacco, a spokesman for Inspector General Joseph Fisch, said a probe into Ward Stone's actions has started. Del Giacco said he couldn't comment on the investigation.

The investigation began as the Times Union of Albany published a story Sunday detailing complaints made against the 71-year-old Stone by former and current employees of the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Yancey Roy, a department spokesman, confirmed an ongoing disciplinary action against Stone.

Department officials took actions to address potential issues when they became aware of them, Roy said.

The allegations have been "distorted," Stone said.

According to the report in the Times Union, Stone has escaped any serious disciplinary action during more than 40 years as the department's wildlife pathologist, a position in which Stone diagnoses and monitors causes of sickness and death in amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals throughout the state.

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