A Nassau County police lieutenant has sued the county, alleging her former supervisor discriminated against her because she was a woman and that the then-police commissioner punished her when she complained in part because he believed she was spreading gossip about him online, a federal lawsuit says.
Lt. Cara Trimboli, a nearly 25-year department veteran, alleged in a lawsuit filed Dec. 21 against the county, former acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter and Deputy Insp. Tom Corona, that she was subjected to gender-based discrimination and a hostile work environment after she was assigned to the Highway Patrol in May 2015.
Trimboli, a Suffolk resident, who has been on disability leave from the department since September for a work-related injury that required surgery, declined an interview. But Rick Ostrove, her Carle Place attorney, said of the suit: “It’s about time the county takes sexual harassment complaints seriously. The training of its employees is woefully inadequate.”
The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of money in damages, including lost pay.
“The county attorney’s office cannot comment on pending litigation,” Nassau County spokesman Michael Martino said by email Tuesday.
Krumpter declined to comment. Corona could not be reached. A representative from Corona and Trimboli’s union, the Superior Officers Association, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Corona, her direct supervisor in Highway Patrol, told Trimboli and two other officers in July 2015 that taking complaints from women was the “worst part” of his job when he worked in the Internal Affairs Bureau, according to the suit.
“He said that was the worst part of the job for him because women were confused, could not get their story straight, were too emotional, and were a pain in the . . . [expletive] to deal with,” according to the lawsuit.
Corona then said “ . . . [expletive] broads ruin the job,” which resulted in “stunned” looks from the two other officers in the room at the time, according to the suit, which also alleges that Corona used ethnic slurs to refer to a Jewish police sergeant.
Corona “regularly expressed his disdain for women,” the suit alleged, ignoring Trimboli, who was the only female supervisor, when she spoke during meetings.
Additionally, Corona denied her overtime work for the 2016 presidential debate at Hofstra University and instead granted the overtime hours to a sergeant who had less seniority — a violation of the department’s procedures and the union contract.
Trimboli filed complaints about Corona with the New York State Division of Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on March 2.
Trimboli complained to Krumpter on Dec. 22, 2016, about Corona’s conduct and, 11 days later, Krumpter transferred Trimboli to the Public Safety Department, which, according to the suit, is widely considered to be a “punishment assignment as it entails no real police work and the facilities are dilapidated and perceived to be hazardous.”
Ostrove wrote in an email: “When officials at the upper echelons of the Department retaliate, it creates a culture where employees are afraid to step forward. My client complained about discrimination directly to the Commissioner; she was transferred eleven days later, and then told that there was an internal affairs investigation regarding her conduct!”
The suit alleged she was also denied overtime in her new post and said she worked 600 hours of overtime in 2016, but just three hours last year.
Trimboli, who said she asked her union to file a grievance, was told by union leadership that Internal Affairs was going to investigate her for alleged involvement in posting information on a Facebook page and in the comments sections on Newsday stories under the pseudonym “Big Boss Man,” according to the suit.
Trimboli denied that she had posted anything under that name.
The lawsuit said that Trimboli’s transfer and denial of overtime was retaliation for her initial gender harassment complaint and added: “to the extent any of these adverse actions were not based on Cara’s protected activities, they were based on the department and Krumpter’s desire to retaliate against Cara for their perception that Cara was behind the Big Boss Man postings and Facebook page.”
The suit said that after Trimboli was questioned for five hours by two Internal Affairs detectives, her denials of involvement were deemed “not credible” by IAB and she had “improperly” used a department computer to email some of Big Boss Man’s postings to other officers in the department.
The Big Boss Man Facebook page did not respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday.
The suit also claims that Krumpter removed Chief Neil Delargy from the department’s five-person Disciplinary Review Board because Krumpter feared Delargy “may be less apt to rubber stamp” Krumpter’s desired disciplinary outcome.
Krumpter’s “manipulation” and “influence,” according to the suit, resulted in departmental charges against Trimboli. The charges are pending.
Newsday reported in October 2016 that Krumpter, who retired from the Nassau County Police Department in June 2017 and is now the leader of the village of Lloyd Harbor’s police department, issued a subpoena to Facebook in an effort to get the identity of a user under the name “Sue Reilly” as part of a police department employee’s disciplinary proceeding.