County Finance Commissioner In Hudson Valley Accused Of Stealing Funds

An investigation is underway after a former commissioner of finance in the Hudson Valley was accused of allegedly stealing funds from a recreation association he oversaw.

The Ulster County Commissioner of Finance Burt Gulnick has been removed from office.
The Ulster County Commissioner of Finance Burt Gulnick has been removed from office. Photo Credit: Ulster County Goverment

Ulster County Commissioner of Finance Burt Gulnick,  who also served as treasurer of the Hurley Recreation Association, was removed immediately, according to association officials.

"We are deeply saddened by these recent events and we will continue to keep the interests of our members and families first during this transitional time," they added.

The association offers recreational opportunities of all kinds for children, schools, and adults in Ulster county.

Ulster County Comptroller March Gallagher announced on Tuesday, Feb. 28, her office was made aware of allegations of theft and the subsequent removal of Gulnick as the treasurer of the organization. 

"Given the seriousness of the allegations,  as they relate to cash oversight and management, I immediately reached out to the County Executive’s Office and began an internal investigation," Gallagher said in a statement.

Gallagher added that while the allegations are being investigated by state and local authorities, "it is imperative that the county immediately take the appropriate steps to safeguard Ulster County taxpayers more than $214 million in cash assets."

Her office had recently communicated specific concerns about the absence of internal controls over cash receipts in a draft audit and the potential for theft and error in cash collections within the county. 

She said her office currently lacks access to critical systems that track tax collections despite repeated requests made by the office over the last 12 months. 

"Since taking office in 2020, I have found my access to Ulster County financial information routinely denied and blocked," Gallagher said. "I have raised and documented my concerns about access to financial information with the County Executive’s Office through multiple administrations."  

Gallagher said the extreme nature of the allegations and their impacts on internal controls needs to be immediately addressed by the administration. 

Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger has replaced Gulnick with Ken Juras, the county’s director of budget and innovation as interim commissioner of finance.

Gulnick had been the county finance commissioner since 2012.

This is a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates. 

to follow Daily Voice Briarcliff and receive free news updates.