The Real Deal New York

Whistleblower files lawsuit against NYCHA alleging retaliation

Agency’s former employee claims he was punished for cooperating with DOI
By Konrad Putzier | September 13, 2018 04:00PM

The Baruch Houses at 300 Delancey Street (Credit: Curbed NY)

A former regional asset manager at the New York City Housing Authority is suing the agency and his former supervisor, alleging that he was punished for cooperating with the city’s Inspector General.

Nathaniel Parris, who started working at NYCHA in 1978 and left the agency in September 2017, claims he helped the IG’s office investigate allegations of misuse of government funds against a former property maintenance supervisor. The NYCHA maintenance supervisor under investigation was a friend of Parris’ direct supervisor, Darrell Laval, Parris claims in a complaint filed in New York Supreme Court Wednesday.

After Parris helped the IG’s office, Laval denied him a promotion, delayed approving his requests and told other employees that Parris was a “trouble maker,” the lawsuit alleges. Parris contacted the agency’s Department of Equal Opportunity, but it allegedly wouldn’t help him. He claims he began suffering from stress-related health problems and was forced to leave NYCHA in September 2017.

Parris is suing for breach of contract, defamation and “negligent infliction of emotional distress,” among other causes, and seeks unspecified damages.

In a statement, NYCHA said “we believe the claims are meritless.”

The lawsuit comes a day after a federal judge refused to dismiss a racism lawsuit brought by another NYCHA employee, who claims an official tried to push her out of her job because she isn’t a Spanish speaker.