A former Northport treasurer has been ordered to return nearly $150,000 to the village for unauthorized checks she wrote to herself.
Suffolk County Supreme Court justice Ralph T. Gazzillo on Jan. 5 granted Northport a summary judgment in the village’s lawsuit against Maryclaire Krumholz and ordered her to return the $149,511.77 she paid herself for overtime, plus interest accrued since her actions were discovered. Gazzillo dismissed Krumholz’s counterclaim of wrongful termination.
As treasurer, Krumholz had a $68,000 annual salary in her last year working for the village and officials said it was made clear to her she was not entitled to overtime. Krumholz maintained she wrote the checks to herself because she was entitled to overtime compensation.
Village Trustee Jerry Maline said the decision “vindicated” the village. “It completely confirms our position the entire time: she was a salaried employee and she was not entitled to comp pay,” he said.
Village Clerk Donna Koch identified the accounting discrepancies in 2009. A village investigation found Krumholz had written checks to herself amounting to $115,906.77. She also had the village payroll system directly pay out more than $33,000 toward her federal and state taxes, according to court documents.
In one instance, she wrote two checks for more than $4,900 on the same day to avoid the village’s second-signature requirement for checks of more than $5,000.
Krumholz could not be reached for comment.
Northport officials sought punitive damages against Krumholz, but Gazzillo rejected that effort.
Krumholz “wrongly believed and apparently, despite all evidence to the contrary, still believes that she was entitled to ‘comp time,’ ” he wrote in his order. “Therefore the court finds that the defendant’s actions do not meet the standards for recovery of punitive damages.”
In 2009, Krumholz sued the village in U.S. District Court, claiming Northport officials violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and failed to pay her for overtime hours worked. The federal judge ruled in 2012 that she was not entitled to the overtime but didn’t issue an opinion on whether Krumholz needed to repay the village.
Northport officials filed their lawsuit against her in state court in 2012.
Since Krumholz’ departure in March 2009, village officials have changed their accounting practices, including requiring two signatures on all checks, regardless of the amount.
Krumholz worked for the village for three years.
“We felt betrayed,” Maline said. “There’s a trust when you work together. We’re public officials, we have a public trust to fulfill our office and the constitution and the laws of New York State — and you expect the same from your employees.”
The Suffolk County district attorney’s office decided in 2009 not to file criminal charges against Krumholz.