ELDRED, NY — The saga of Highland’s suspended constabulary continues, as constable Marc Anthony has filed a lawsuit against town supervisor Jeff Haas, town board member Kaitlin Haas and …
ELDRED, NY — The saga of Highland’s suspended constabulary continues, as constable Marc Anthony has filed a lawsuit against town supervisor Jeff Haas, town board member Kaitlin Haas and the Highland Town Board.
Anthony’s complaint alleges an improper suspension process, damages to his reputation and racial discrimination.
Highland suspended its constables force on April 12, 2022, citing the need to investigate “[v]arious instances” alleged against the force.
Anthony alleged several improprieties in the town board’s actions.
The town board suspended the constable force by fiat, and not by special referendum as required by law, according to Anthony. The town did not allow Anthony a pre-suspension hearing or formally terminate him, though Anthony reports that Jeff Haas sent him a letter requesting he return his uniform and other issued equipment on August 26, 2022.
“In violating the Town Law, the Town of Highland made it impossible for Plaintiff to have a public trial, or Article 75 proceeding, or the opportunity to appeal said decision to the Supreme Court within 30 days, had the decision been against Plaintiff,” reads the complaint.
The complaint additionally alleges actions from the town board and certain members thereof directed at him personally.
The Sullivan County Democrat on August 19, 2022 published an article based on an unredacted report from the town’s constable committee. “The article details ‘substantiated’ charges against the plaintiff which are absolutely false,” reads the complaint.
The complaint only specifically disputes the report’s claims that Anthony did not have adequate peace officer training, taser training and handgun qualifications.
Anthony alleges in his complaint that town board member Kaitlin Haas was responsible for the leak. The Democrat article does not identify the source of the unredacted report; Anthony claims, “upon information and belief,” that Kaitlin Haas provided that information.
“[Anthony] lost his position for the Town of Highland as a result of these untrue, published allegations, has suffered a loss of reputation and has been denied a permanent position on any other town police force within Sullivan County as a result of these allegations,” reads the complaint.
“Town of Highland and Ms. Haas commented and published only Plaintiff’s alleged transgressions, while ignoring and/or ‘covering up’ many proven violations of law and policy committed by other members of the Town of Highland Constabulary. Upon information and belief, this is because Plaintiff was the sole person of color employed by the Constabulary,” the complaint continues.
Anthony is seeking back pay from April 12, damages for defamation no less than $100,000, and damages for racial discrimination no less than $50,000.
The Highland Town Board announced the lawsuit following an executive session at the board meeting on Wednesday, March 15.
The board authorized a resolution to retain attorney for the town Michael Davidoff, Esq. to represent and defend the town at a rate of $225 per hour and reimbursement of any related expense. The board unanimously adopted the resolution with no discussion. According to the resolution, a copy of the complaint has been forwarded to the town insurance company.
Anthony is represented by Stacey Van Malden, Esq., Goldberger & Dubin, P.C. of New York City.
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