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Sex harassment suit against Cedar Realty CEO dismissed

Cedar Realty has announced a lawsuit charging its

Cedar Realty has announced a lawsuit charging its CEO Bruce Schanzer with sexual harassment has been dismissed. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

A sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former executive against the chief executive of Cedar Realty Trust Inc. has been dismissed, the company announced.

The case against CEO Bruce Schanzer filed in New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn was dismissed after the court ruled that the claims of former chief operating officer Nancy Mozzachio "should be resolved through her pre-existing arbitration case," the company said.

Justice Richard Velasquez issued the ruling on Sept. 4.

A company spokeswoman said Tuesday that Schanzer would have no comment on the ruling. Calls seeking comment from Schanzer's attorney and Mozzachio and her attorney were not returned.

Cedar is a real estate investment trust that focuses on shopping centers with supermarket anchor tenants from Washington to Boston. The company is the 18th largest public company on Long Island based on 2017 revenues of $146 million.

Cedar shares lost 1.6 percent Tuesday to close at $4.55. Twelve months ago, the stock was trading at $4.91. 

Mozzachio filed the lawsuit in November 2017, charging that she was "subject to hostile work environment sexual harassment" and that her salary and bonus reflected "disparate treatment based on her sex."

She  joined the company in 2003 and worked as Cedar's COO from 2014 until her termination in February 2016 "in retaliation" for her complaints, the lawsuit said.

The company said the case "is entirely without merit."

The lawsuit said that typically the COO of a company like Cedar would be the second highest paid executive. Mozzachio earned compensation of $373,000 in 2015 compared with $789,869 for the chief financial officer, according to government filings.

The lawsuit also charged that Schanzer “attempted to kiss” Mozzachio while in a hotel elevator on a business trip.

Four women at Cedar reported sexually harassing behavior by the chief executive during a 2015 investigation, the lawsuit said.  Claims against Schanzer were settled by payments “through Cedar’s payroll system so that Cedar would not have to inform investors,” the lawsuit said.

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