NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A major discrimination lawsuit involving the FDNY moved closer to trial Friday as lawyers for the plaintiffs demanded access to a key piece of evidence.
They want to know the location of the noose that turned up in a Fire Department electric shop last year outside Greg Seabrook’s locker.
“It has racial overtones. It really does. My parents grew up in the South and we heard stories over the years,” Seabrook said.
Seabrook and four other electricians sued the FDNY for alleged racial bias. The noose and the monkey knot at the other end are interpreted as a response to their complaints of a lack of promotion and overtime opportunity.
CBS 2’s Lou Young spoke with FDNY electrician Dudley Placide about the overtime issues.
Young: “What did it cost you you think?”
Placide: “Hundreds of thousands of dollars over the year.”
Young: “Overtime steered to other people?”
In the past year, a supervisor was found by the City’s own investigators to have steered $300,000 in overtime to himself and his son-in-law.
Lawyers for the electricians said it goes a lot deeper than that. They claim the noose is the key to the larger issue.
“The simple facts are it was turned over to them almost a year ago. We don’t even know the current whereabouts of the noose and the monkey knot,” said attorney Howard Shafran.
If the City’s lawyers know, they aren’t saying. A spokesperson for the City Corporation Council’s Office said “the FDNY investigates all allegations of discrimination.”
The City has until Feb. 10 to decide if it will represent the current and former Fire Department employees or force them to hire their own lawyers.
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