N.Y. Commish Replaced

Should the next “Toxic Avenger” saga choose to film in the streets of New York, it won’t have any trouble with pesky filming permits.

Ending months of industry speculation, Bruce Feinberg has been fired from his post as New York state’s film commissioner and apparently will be replaced by Patti Kaufman, wife of Lloyd Kaufman, prexy of Troma Films, of “Avenger” fame.

Feinberg was notified of his dismissal Feb. 17 by an administrative exec of the state’s Dept. of Economic Development. Although Gov. George Pataki’s press department wouldn’t confirm the sacking, Feinberg did. He said the dismissal will be effective Feb. 24, but that he’ll be on vacation until then.

Feinberg said he was informed by the exec that Patti Kaufman would be his replacement as head of the New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & Television Development.

The choice of Kaufman is sure to stir controversy within the city’s film and television production industry. In recent months, rumors of her appointment drew criticism from industry leaders and union officials, who questioned her qualifications and noted Troma’s practice of shooting non-union films. Lloyd Kaufman reportedly is close to Pataki.

Although Feinberg’s replacement was expected, Kaufman’s appointment came as a surprise. Early rumors of her appointment abated when word spread that she was headed for an appointment in the governor’s Manhattan-based Division for Women.

The looming shakeup prompted an ad hoc industry committee to meet with state economic leaders several weeks ago. The committee expressed its support of Feinberg, appointed by former Gov. Mario Cuomo.

Variety was not able to reach Kaufman. Calls to Troma were referred to the governor’s press office.

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