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Old 12-07-2018, 10:10 AM
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Default FDNY Chief James Leonard removed from post over ‘inappropriate behavior’


FDNY Chief James Leonard removed from post over ‘inappropriate behavior’
By Larry Celona, Aaron Feis and Susan Edelman
December 6, 2018 | 1:25pm | Updated December 7, 2018 | 11:39am

The FDNY’s second-in-command was sidelined Thursday amid a probe into his alleged misogynistic and “verbally abusive” treatment of the department’s highest-ranking woman, officials and sources said.

Chief of Department James Leonard was banished to modified duty over First Deputy Commissioner Laura Kavanagh’s repeated complaints about him to Commissioner Daniel Nigro, sources told The Post.

“He was verbally abusive to her,” said one veteran firefighter, noting Leonard’s gripe was that Kavanagh was appointed to her lofty civilian post by her former boss, Mayor de Blasio, despite having no FDNY experience.

“He just discarded her as de Blasio’s appointment,” the source said. “He resented the fact that she was in there.

“He wanted to make sure she knew that.”

Leonard’s alleged vitriol was at turns juvenile — icing her out of his “inner circle” and insisting he and Kavanagh be seated at opposite ends of the table during meetings — and sexist, the insiders said.

Kavanagh complained that “he’s insulting to women ,” said another source, although it wasn’t immediately clear precisely what Leonard was accused of saying.

Sources said he has a notorious temper.

The veteran firefighter also claimed Leonard was “despised” by some within the department.

Leonard’s bad blood with Kavanagh extends back at least a year. It came to a head Thursday when Leonard was summoned to FDNY headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn and told he was being taken out of rotation pending a probe.

“While a review is conducted by the city’s Law Department concerning allegations of inappropriate behavior, Chief James Leonard has been… placed on modified assignment,” the FDNY said in a statement that didn’t address the nature of the claims.

Chief of Operations John Sudnik will, for now, assume Leonard’s role as the No. 2-ranking uniformed member beneath Nigro.

Leonard joined the FDNY in 1979 and has held his current position since 2014.

Kavanagh came aboard in 2014 as assistant commissioner of external affairs and in January 2018 was promoted to first deputy commissioner.

Leonard did not answer at his Staten Island home on Thursday, while Kavanagh could not be reached.
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