City ordered to pay out $128M in minority suit vs. Fire Dept.

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Rich Bockmann

Four federal court appointees have until April 12 to make their recommendations to a Brooklyn judge as to how to mete out approximately $128 million the city was ordered to pay to a pool of more than 2,000 minority candidates who were discriminated against by the FDNY.

In his 64-page decision rendered earlier this month, U.S. Eastern District Judge Nicholas Garaufis named Steven Cohen, former counselor and chief of staff to then-U.S. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, and three federal prosecutors as special masters in the case, which found the city Fire Department’s hiring practices to be discriminatory toward black and Hispanic applicants.

In previous rulings on the lawsuit, Garaufis called the under-representation of black and other minorities among the FDNY’s ranks as the “one persistent stain on the Fire Department’s record.”

According to the lawsuit, which was originally brought against the city by the federal government, thousands of black and Hispanic candidates who took either one of two written, multiple-choice exams between 1999 and 2007 are eligible for a portion of the millions in monetary relief, which was calculated in terms of lost or delayed wages.

The federal government estimated that there are 2,200 black and Hispanic applicants who are eligible to divide up the award.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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