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Long IslandPolitics

Ex-George Maragos employee sues under disabilities act

Nassau Comptroller George Maragos during a press conference

Nassau Comptroller George Maragos during a press conference in Mineola on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A former employee has filed a federal lawsuit against Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, saying he was fired after being hospitalized for treatment of Crohn’s disease.

Anthony Genova of East Norwich, who worked as a senior asset manager in the Comptroller’s office, filed suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act against Maragos and the county on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.

Genova was hired in December 2014. He worked on a project surveying abandoned homes in the Town of Hempstead and also conducted seminars for first-time homebuyers.

He was hospitalized three times in 2015, including a two-week period in September to recover from surgery, according to the suit. Genova suffers from Crohn’s, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

Genova underwent surgery again in December 2015 and returned to work a week later. In March 2016, Maragos fired him, calling his work “deficient” and saying two projects of his “were of poor quality and were never utilized,” the suit says.

Genova’s attorney, Marshall Sweetbaum of Lake Success, said Genova is highly respected in the home mortgage field, produced “excellent” work during his time with the county and was fired because of his illness.

“There is absolutely no other reason he was terminated,” Sweetbaum said. “He did an absolutely professional job.”

Maragos called the allegations “completely false and groundless,” and said Genova was dismissed because of a “string of issues with his work that were continuously documented. His work required multiple revisions and the quality was below what was expected.”

The suit said Maragos “simply sat” on two reports prepared by Genova and failed to follow his recommendations.

Genova last year filed a civil rights complaint against Maragos with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency in July denied the complaint, saying it was “unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes.”

The federal suit asks for Genova, a mortgage loan officer for PNC Bank, to be reinstated to his $110,000-per year county position, and seeks $750,000 in back pay, lost seniority, life insurance and fringe benefits.

Maragos is running for Nassau County executive against county Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary.

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