New York attorney general sues landowner over cemetery flooding

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CORTLANDVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — The New York state attorney general’s office is suing a landowner for allegedly causing flooding that’s unearthed at least 10 graves in a cemetery.

According to the suit filed Tuesday in Cortland County by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, James Stevens III illegally cleared 120 acres of land that’s diverted stormwater onto St. Mary’s Cemetery in Cortlandville and a nearby highway.

The cemetery off state Route 281 is operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse.

Both the cemetery and the road began flooding in July 2012, and the area flooded so much the next year that several caskets were unearthed and had to be reburied.

Stevens has refused to correct the problem.

Schneiderman is asking the court to order Stevens to fix it and pay a penalty.