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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Retaliation and Civil Rights Violations Are Alive and Well in the U.S.

New York- The Retaliation Capital of The World
City Settles Lawsuit That Claimed Bias and Retaliation
The New York Times by Benjamin Weiser  -  April 16, 2012

New York City has agreed to pay $750,000 to a black official of the city’s Human Resources Administration who had claimed in a lawsuit that the agency’s commissioner and others had retaliated against her because she had complained about contracting practices.  The settlement, which on Friday was disclosed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, came three days after the official, Sandra Glaves-Morgan, won a jury trial on her discrimination and retaliation claims; the jury awarded her $420,000 in compensatory damages.  A portion of those damages, $320,000, was found by the jury against the agency’s commissioner, Robert Doar, who was widely praised when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appointed him in 2007 to head the Human Resources Administration, an agency that serves more than three million New Yorkers.  Ms. Glaves-Morgan, 55, had accused Mr. Doar and others of demoting her, cutting her salary and reassigning her duties to less qualified white men and women.  The jury also found that Ms. Glaves-Morgan was entitled to punitive damages on her claims, although the city agreed to the settlement before the jury had begun to deliberate on what that amount might be.  On Monday, Ms. Glaves-Morgan’s lawyer and the city disagreed sharply over the significance of the jury’s findings and of the settlement, which also calls for the city to pay for Ms. Glaves-Morgan’s legal fees (her lawyer estimated that to be about $720,000).  “The city has an abysmal record of timely addressing civil rights complaints and only does so after it is facing a significant jury award, as in this case,” Ms. Glaves-Morgan’s lawyer, Samuel O. Maduegbuna, said.  But James Lemonedes, a lawyer for the city, said in a statement: “H.R.A. and its leaders did nothing wrong, and the evidence does not support any finding of wrongdoing. Given the risks of litigation and appeal, and the desire to save the taxpayers money, we felt that before the jury issued a final verdict, a settlement was in the city’s best interest.”  Mr. Lemonedes told the jury that Mr. Doar came from a family tradition of fighting for civil rights. He noted that Mr. Doar’s father, John, had served as an assistant attorney general in the Justice Department during the Kennedy administration and helped enforce civil rights laws. “That’s the man we’re talking about,” he said.  The settlement will include no admission of liability, and the jury’s verdict against the city, Mr. Doar and a second official, Thomas DePippo, will be vitiated, Mr. Lemonedes said on Monday.  Ms. Glaves-Morgan, a naturalized citizen from Jamaica, entered the United States in 1961, her lawyer told the jury. She graduated from Yale and obtained a law degree at Brooklyn Law School. After working for the Legal Aid Society, the state comptroller’s office and the Board of Education, she joined the social services agency in 1995, initially as a deputy general counsel.  She was later appointed chief contracts officer, and it was in that capacity, her lawyer told the jury, that she objected to what she felt was preferential treatment in contracting being given to vendors whose employees were members of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.  In 2007, she raised the issue with Mr. Doar, after his appointment, and he later demoted her, Mr. Maduegbuna told the jury. Each time officials took assignments and duties away from her, Mr. Maduegbuna said in his summation last week, they went to “somebody who was not black.”  After Ms. Glaves-Morgan had been told that her salary would be cut by 20 percent and that she would be relocated to an office in Brooklyn, Mr. DePippo allegedly said that at least she was not going to be “cleaning washrooms.”  Mr. Lemonedes, the city’s lawyer, rejected the allegations of discrimination , and said, for example, that Mr. DePippo’s comment had been twisted out of context. He had been trying to reassure her, he told the jury, adding, “What happens? No good deed goes unpunished.”  In court, the city argued that Mr. Doar had a solid record of advancing members of minority groups, and that he had removed or demoted whites and promoted blacks in his administration.  Connie Ress, a spokeswoman for the agency, said on Monday that the accusations of discrimination against the officials were “wholly without merit.”  “H.R.A.’s key leaders are as diverse as New York City, and Commissioner Doar’s record throughout his tenure in promoting women, people of color and ensuring integrity throughout H.R.A.’s programs stands on its own,” she said.  Ms. Glaves-Morgan declined to comment, but in court on Friday, she told the judge, Harold Baer Jr., that although she was disappointed with some aspects of the deal, “we have a settlement; I am agreeable to it.”  This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:  Correction: April 16, 2012  -  An earlier version of this story stated that Sandra Glaves-Morgan was a former official of the Human Resources Administration. Ms. Glaves-Morgan is a current human resources official.


Anonymous said...

If the feds don't stop the corrupt members of the state's retaliation machine than who will?

Who the hell can restore our faith in our government?

Very depressing!

outsider said...

If you are not part of the system (read: lawyer or court employee) you are FU*KED.

If you happen to be part of ANY minority, you are doubly FU*KED

Do the math... and start the revolt!

Anonymous said...

Note it is a lawyer getting money. Enforcing honest rules among lawyers is just trying to equitably divide the loot among a bunch of thieves.

Anonymous said...

Where is the FBI on all the Civil Rights violations?
There are more civil rights violations now with a black president than we had before- how'd that happen?

Anonymous said...


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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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