UPDATE Jan. 13, 2017: Sagamore Hill Reps Cleared Of Misconduct, But Opposition Remains
The current superintendent is among two individuals at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site under investigation by the National Park Service for allegations of misconduct, according to emails obtained by the Oyster Bay Enterprise-Pilot.
According to one current seasonal ranger, one permanent ranger, the parks curator and two former rangers at the site, Sagamore Hill National Historic Site Superintendent Kelly Fuhrmann and Chief of Interpretation Martin Christiansen are currently being investigated on allegations of misconduct by the Northeast Region of the National Park Service.
The inquiry is being conducted by the National Park Service Northeast Regional Director, the Deputy Regional Director and by a Law Enforcement Ranger from Colonial National Historical Park in Virginia. Law enforcement interviewed Furhrmann and Christiansen on their alleged misconduct, as well as current and former Sagamore Hill National Historic Site employees.
According to the investigation, questions have arisen whether Fuhrmann, who became superintendent of the park in 2013, used government equipment for personal gain.
Christiansen, whom Fuhrmann hired over acting Sagamore Hill National Historic Site Chief of Interpretation Scott Gurney, is being investigated on charges of nepotism. One of the sources claimed that, “After the passing of longtime Eastern National Bookstore manager Debbie Bulck, Christiansen maneuvered to get his wife the position.”
Christiansen’s wife, Melissa Ann Schoeffell, is currently the park’s bookstore manager. One of the sources stated, “The Bookstore brings in over $200,000 a year, and the Superintendent and Chief of Interpretation have the authority to renew the bookstore contract for the park, It is clear with the Chief of Interpretation’s wife as bookstore manager, Eastern National will continue to get the bookstore contact.”
However, the sources do not expect many of the allegations to be addressed, as the Federal Times recently reported that the National Park Service Northeast Regional Director Michael A. Caldwell admitted to fraud and is currently being investigated for abusing work travel and for using his title to get a vacation home on Cape Cod.
A representative at Sagamore Hill, who chose not to be named, responded to calls for comment by stating, “The Northeast Region of the National Park Service (NPS) was made aware of the allegations you have referred to. The NPS takes these kinds of allegations seriously. An inquiry was completed because we are always looking for ways to improve and sometimes it is important to have a fresh set of eyes looking at our processes. We will continue to improve in our communications with staff, partners and the community in which we serve. We sincerely appreciate these matters being brought to our attention.”
The investigation is ongoing.