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Committee clears settlement of election board firing suit

A legislative committee voted last week to approve a $250,000 settlement to end a county lawsuit brought by the niece of the late state and Suffolk Democratic Chairman Dominic Baranello.

Francine Baranello Lippman, an elections clerk for a decade, brought suit in state Supreme Court in 2011, claiming Democratic officials at the Suffolk Board of Elections illegally fired her and “ridiculed, insulted, harassed, retaliated against” her, and treated her “in a discriminatory manner.”

Lippman, who filed her suit in 2011, claimed in court papers she faced “a hostile work environment” because she suffered from pemphigus vulgaris a rare auto-immune disease affecting the skin and mucous membrane which becomes worse under stress. She said she was repeatedly asked if she had AIDS, was forced to use a separate phone at work and was pressed to drop a human rights complaint against the board. Democratic commissioner Anita Katz declined comment on Lippman’s suit. Lippman’s lawyer did not return calls for comment.

The ways and mean committee unanimously approved the settlement after an executive session but declined to detail the cost. However, the county comptroller's office said they were preparing a $250,000 bond to pay for the settlement.
 

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