Ex-doormen at Spitzer family-owned building claim racial discrim - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Ex-doormen at Spitzer family-owned building claim racial discrimination

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Four former building workers at a luxury high-rise apartment building on East 57th Street owned by the Spitzer family are claiming in an explosive racial discrimination lawsuit that they were fired in the 1990s because of their dark complexions.

Anthony Haydenn worked as a doorman at the the luxury rental building owned by Bernard Spitzer, father of Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York and current candidate for city comptroller.

After just six months on the job, Haydenn and three other minority co-workers were fired, right before Christmas 1999, he said. Haydenn said he had ignored harassment from a supervisor, who allegedly told him to scrub out a toilet with a toothbrush, and says all four had perfect attendance and punctuality records. He said he was shocked and hurt to find out what was behind it.

Haydenn enlisted the help of attorney Anthony Ofodile, and brought a racial and employment discrimination lawsuit against Bernard Spitzer, who they say visited the building nearly every day. A jury awarded them $1.35 million, but it was overturned on appeal. Haydenn said he then reached out to Eliot Spitzer but never got a response.

Fox 5 reached out to the Spitzer family for comment, and we were given this statement: "The initial verdict was an atrocious injustice against Bernard Spitzer, which the court appropriately reversed. There is absolutely no evidence supporting the allegations of discrimination made in the complaint. This has nothing to do with Eliot, and any attempt to smear him or his dad is both desperate and despicable."

Fox 5 also reached out to the Eliot Spitzer campaign for a comment. The campaign had no further comment beyond the family statement.

The attorney and the four building workers are planning to re-file the case again in November and hope this time the court system will see it their way.

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