A former Northport Village treasurer who paid herself about $149,500 in overtime was not entitled to the extra pay, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Bianco wrote in a decision dated July 10 that as a salaried administrative official of the village, MaryClaire Krumholz was prohibited overtime pay -- which village officials say they have argued since the issue surfaced in 2009.
Village officials have said Krumholz wrote checks to herself and had the village pay taxes on her behalf -- totaling $149,500, over and above her annual salary of about $60,000.
They confronted Krumholz after a large discrepancy was found in the amount she was paid, said attorney Carl Sandel, who represented the village in the case.
On March 5, 2009, just shy of three years on the job, she was called into a meeting with Mayor George Doll and other village officials. When confronted, village officials said, Krumholz said she took the money for extra hours she worked.
The Suffolk County district attorney's office decided not to bring criminal charges against Krumholz in August 2009.
Two months later, Krumholz filed a federal lawsuit against the village, saying that then-deputy mayor and director of personnel Arlene Handel had told her she was entitled to compensatory time. She also claimed she was entitled to a hearing or the equivalent before her employment ended the day she met with village officials, according to court documents and her attorney.
James Matthews, the village's attorney, said Krumholz contends she was fired, but village officials say she resigned. Krumholz's second claim was withdrawn.
Matthews said the village will try to retrieve the $149,500 in state court. If a state court rules for the village, it will recoup the funds through insurance. The company would then seek reimbursement from Krumholz.
Krumholz, who in 2009 had a Smithtown address, could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, Lane Maxson of Melville, said a state court will also be asked to decide on Krumholz's wrongful termination claim and whether her overtime payments were authorized by the village, "as she steadfastly maintains."
Maxson said that after talking with Handel, Krumholz informed the village clerk and deputy treasurer of the exchange.
"The village position is that those conversations never occurred," Matthews said.