NY state’s top cop quietly investigated by Hochul’s office: ‘She doesn’t need another scandal’

The state police official who failed to discipline a trooper for sleeping with former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daughter is being probed by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office over claims that he protected a former HR official with whom he was allegedly having an affair.

The Democratic governor’s office had quietly put State Police Superintendent Kevin Bruen under the microscope after his former human resources director, MaryEllen Tedesco, resigned last month amid another state probe — into her handling of a wheelchair-bound prospective employee, sources told The Post.

Bruen, 59, allegedly declined to take any action against Tedesco, 60, when faced with multiple internal complaints about her integrity from other top police officials because he was romantically involved with her, sources close to the investigation said.

Hochul had been planning to fire the Cuomo appointee — but not until after the Nov. 8 election, in which she faces Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin — and replace him with First Deputy Superintendent Steven Nigrelli.

“She doesn’t need another scandal before the election,” an Albany source said of Hochul’s reasoning.

Nigrelli, who has ties to the governor’s husband, William Hochul, joined her in Manhattan on Aug. 31 to tout the state’s “Gun-Free Zones,” around the time the hushed investigation into his boss began, according to the sources.

“I’d like to take the time to acknowledge someone I’ve known for a long time, someone I look up to, and thank Gov. Kathy Hochul for your leadership throughout the years,” Nigrelli gushed at the press conference.

Superintendent NYS Police Kevin Bruen is pictured
New York State Police Superintendent Kevin Bruen is accused of shielding a favored underling from scrutiny.
Pacific Press/LightRocket via Ge

“For your leadership on this topic, Governor — your laser-like focus on eradicating guns, illegal guns and gun crimes in our communities. We appreciated that in the State Police,” he said.

Other law enforcement leaders said they wouldn’t be surprised to see Hochul replace Bruen with Nigrelli.

“Steve was a solid leader. I wouldn’t be shocked if he was the superintendent,” Eric Laughton, a retired state trooper commander, told The Post. “He definitely has the faculties and he has the bandwidth to run the New York State Police.”

Hochul confirmed to the Times Union on Tuesday that her lawyers had been investigating Bruen, a former Warren County assistant district attorney and state police lawyer who was appointed to the top job by Cuomo two months before he resigned last summer.

“This is an individual I inherited. I will gather all the facts and I will make a determination,” Hochul reportedly said.

“I’m not prepared to sit here and say I’m going to fire somebody until I have the evidence necessary. I’ve heard of allegations. And I’ll tell you a lot of people say things about me on websites, too. … I think everybody’s owed the investigation, which is ongoing at this time.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul is pictured
Hochul’s office was handling the probe because “you can’t have State Police investigating State Police,” she reportedly said.
Getty Images for Concordia Summi

Hochul, 64, reportedly said she tasked her office’s counsel with the probe because “you can’t have State Police investigating State Police.”

The investigation came amid turmoil in the department’s HR office. Two members recently departed amid a series of employee complaints, the paper said.

In August, a state inspector general found that Bruen acted improperly when he failed to discipline State Trooper Dane Pfeiffer for his indiscretions with Cara Kennedy-Cuomo, the daughter of the governor he was sworn to protect.

Pfeiffer was reassigned to a detail near the Canadian border against his will in the spring of 2020, but was not officially punished, Inspector General Lucy Lang’s report said.

Bruen — then working as a first deputy superintendent — told investigators that Pfeiffer “was in love with the girl. And I cut him a break,” according to the report.

“Governor Hochul has directed her counsel to work with investigative bodies as appropriate. We will not comment further on this personnel matter,” Hochul press secretary Hazel Crampton-Hays told The Post.

The State Police press office did not respond to a request for comment from The Post Wednesday, nor did top brass contacted through private email.

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