Complaint to New York Office of Inspector General

December 8th, 2003

Dear Ms. Spencer,

The DEC’s unresponsiveness in addressing my complaint is the reason for my appeal to your agency for relief of their poor performance. Your agency’s mission goes beyond your stated goals of investigating crime and corruption. Your agency is also supposed to investigate fraud, abuse and waste in government.

My case is rife with all three of the latter issues. The DEC represents itself as responsible for the enforcement of pesticide laws and assured me that the use of Dursban has been illegal on Long Island since 2001. However, they never even made a single phone call to determine the viability of their convenient and unwarranted assumption that airborne levels of Dursban pesticide in my apartment MIGHT reflect usage of legally acquired stocks of this banned pesticide. The DEC laboratory technician I spoke with about the matter could not rule out that these levels might indeed reflect current illegal use in neighboring housing lots, despite his disinterest in pursuing the matter. Since he mentioned that it is not his decision to which cases are investigated, his confirmation that Dursban was an airborne presence in my apartment in ANY concentration, is the sum total of the role he should have played in this affair. Instead, the report lay on his desk for months while any possibility of an effective investigation into the sources of this contamination, began to evaporate. Having to surrender my legal right to an inquiry by the DEC in this matter constitutes fraud by that agency.

I submitted proof that a banned pesticide was present in my residential setting. They ignored the fact that concentrations of this pesticide might be much higher in other regions of the house occupied by the landlords. Another concern is that new tenants now occupying my former portion of the home remain at risk and don’t even know it – as they pay $1800 per month for the privilege of living there. Should any of the new occupants be like myself, deficient in an enzyme called paroxonase, they too will suffer great damage from this pesticide. Over 15% of the adult population shares my physiological inability to detoxify Dursban, not to mention ALL babies, who develop this enzyme later on as toddlers. This also does not include many other “at risk” populations such as the elderly, infirm, pregnant women and the general population already sensitized to this highly toxic product after decades of use/misuse. This constitutes abuse for the millions of persons at risk by organophosphate pesticides which led the EPA to negotiate withdrawal of this highly profitable poison from the marketplace. It has been a crime to use it on Long Island since 2001.

It is also wasteful when DEC employees can casually discard such evidence and never leave their chairs while “investigating”, and then disposing, of a valid complaint. Agency costs are great to the taxpayer who think they are being protected by this “enforcement group”.

I hope you will reconsider your agency’s interests in pursuing this matter should the DEC continue to deny any responsibility in this matter. I hope you will personally contact the DEC commissioner to encourage one or the other of your agencies to address these very important concerns constituting a current danger to residents of that house. As I have stated previously, I am not litigating this matter despite being severely damaged by my summer residency in that home. I am only insisting the laws supposedly protecting person like myself be implemented.

Thank you for your attention.

Barbara Rubin

cc: Steven Tvedten
Pesticide Action Network
Elliot Spitzer
Original Message:

Date: Fri, Dec 5, 2003, 3:03pm
From: Maureen Spencer
To: Barbara Rubin
Subject: complaint regarding DEC

Dear Ms. Rubin,

The Office of the State Inspector General (OSIG) received your e-mail dated November 17, and the subsequent one dated December 3. I apologize for not responding to you sooner. However on November 21 a letter was sent to the Director of Pesticide Management, Maureen Serafini advising her of your concerns.

OSIG’s role in NY State Government is to investigate crime and corruption committed by NY State employees. Therefore, this complaint does not fall within our investigative jurisdiction. The issues contained in your complaint are most appropriately handled by the DEC.

We appreciate your concerns and note that you have also advised Commissioner Crotty of your complaints. We are sure that your information will be addressed by his office.

Thank you for contacting OSIG.

Maureen Spencer

Categories: Letters

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