RED BANK: BIAS LAWSUIT SETTLED FOR $175K

memone-kidsMemone Crystian with Red Bank Little Leaguers in 2010. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A lawsuit claiming racism and gender discrimination against a former director of Red Bank’s parks and rec department will be settled for $175,000.

The borough council Wednesday night approved the settlement with Memone Crystian, who claimed she quit the position in May, 2015 “after years of being subjected to a hostile work environment.”

According to the terms of the pact, the borough is “not admitting to any liability or wrongdoing in any fashion.”

Here’s the settlement document: Crystian v Red Bank Bank settlement

The deal ends litigation that began in late 2017, when Crystian and her husband, Simmee Crystian, alleged discrimination by then-borough Administrator Stanley Sickels and then-councilman Art Murphy. Also named were then-CFO Eugenia Poulos and Tamila Bumback, who briefly succeeded Crystian as head of parks and rec.

Among her allegations, Crystian claimed she had been “told by” current or former borough employees that both Sickels and Murphy “have either made or entertained bias [sic] racist remarks, some of which were directed at” Crystian.

Crystian also contended she was discriminated against in terms of salary, sick-leave and other benefits.

All of the individual defendants were later dropped from the suit, leaving only the borough as a defendant. None who were employed by the town still are.

Eighty percent of the lump-sum payment of $175,000 will be covered by insurance, with the borough’s cash outlay no more than $35,000, Business Administrator Ziad Shehady told redbankgreen.

Attorney Theodore Campbell, who represented Crystian in both the civil rights case and in a federal bankruptcy case in which she’s seeking to clear her debts, told the bankruptcy court by letter last week that the settlement “will yield net proceeds in the sum of $40,679” to the debtor’s estate.

That’s the balance after payment of his fees and expenses, totaling $64,000, as well as other debts, Campbell wrote.

A February 11 letter from Campbell to Judge Lourdes Lucas in Monmouth County, where the discrimination case was being heard, says that any settlement must be approved by federal bankruptcy court.