ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Chemung County has reached a settlement with former Deputy County Executive Mike Krusen amid alleged defamation by Chemung County Executive Chris Moss while the two were running for County Executive.
According to the settlement, the county will pay Krusen no more than $35,000.
The lawsuit alleged that during the leadup to the election Moss accused Krusen of improperly using his county-issued gas card. Two statements were presented in court documents outlining a post on Moss’ campaign Facebook site and another online.
The Facebook post on Moss’ campaign page stated “making over $200,000 a year and pilfering free gas from taxpayers, it’s unacceptable and as an elected official I’m going to call it as I see it.”
In 2017 Krusen told 18 News the card is part of his current pay package with the county and that it was issued to him by the Sheriff’s Office. Kusen added that STEG offered him a gas card, but he was told to keep the county gas card because the entities he works for often overlap.
“This was no personal advantage to me because Southern Tier Economic Growth offered me a gas card,” Krusen said. “I talked about that with the County Executive and he said that it wasn’t necessary, the roles overlapped, the responsibilities overlapped.”
“I always had a gas card with the county and I continued to use that in my current capacity, so there’s no personal advantage to me,” Krusen added.
Moss, who was serving as Chemung County Sheriff at the time of the accusation, claimed that Krusen was using his county-issued gas card despite moving from a full-time employee to a part-time employee.
“The issue here is the deputy executive is wearing multiple hats including previously being on the board of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Corporation called STREDC. While sitting on that board apparently the IDA bought the arena not letting board members from STREDC so there’s a huge conflict here that we’re looking into.”
The settlement was approved by Moss, Budget and Research, and the Chemung County Legislature Chairman.