Newspaper Rasies Allegations Against NYS Wildlife Pathologist Ward Stone
By Dave Lucas
Albany, NY – The alleged private side of Ward Stone became public over the weekend in a newspaper expose, raising several questions about the DEC Wildlife Pathologist and whether he may have overstepped several boundaries during his 41 year career. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
Serious allegations about Ward Stone came to light in the Albany Times Union article by reporter Jim Odato, who wouldn't go on mic but did say Stone first showed up on his radar as he was gathering information and supporting documents regarding alleged abuses of state resources and questionable disciplinary actions by state officials, part of an ongoing series of stories the paper has published. Odato's story went to press Sunday, headlined "Records reveal two faces of Ward Stone." Stones' public image as an environmental crusader contrasts with allegations against him including he used state resources for private purposes: in one instance, billing the state thousands of dollars for feed and care of his pets. He says the animals involved were not his "personal pets."
The TU article cites DEC documents and interviews with former co-workers where one details an incident in 2005, where Stone killed penned-in deer by gut-shot on DEC property. Stone says it happened when Chronic Wasting Disease was first intruding into New York State, and insists the animals were humanely put down, with shots to the head and/or heart. Stone also challeneged accusations he created a hostile workplace environment. He dismissed comments by a DEC supervisor who suggested he has been shielded and protected by top officials including Commissioner Pete Grannis and former top environmental adviser Judith Enck, who did not return calls for this report.
The New York State Inspector General's office confirmed there is an investigation underway... Stone says he's ready for it. NYPIRG's Blair Horner cautions that Stone is innocent until the Inspector General's report comes out.
DEC spokesman Yancey Roy sent a one-sentence response to a request for comment by email: "As the agency has become aware of potential issues, it has taken action to address them."