Schenectady County

Documents reveal details of Schenectady suit settlements for $990K

Former firefighter Jennifer Costa and Union College student Broderick Shea walked away with a total
Schenectady police arrest Broderick Shea April 12, 2014, left, and Jennifer Costa in 2013, right.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Schenectady police arrest Broderick Shea April 12, 2014, left, and Jennifer Costa in 2013, right.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

Former firefighter Jennifer Costa and Union College student Broderick Shea walked away with a total of $653,749.67, according to settlement agreements obtained by The Daily Gazette through a Freedom of Information Law request.

The Gazette received the settlement agreements from the city’s Law Department on Tuesday after submitting a FOIL request for the documents on Nov. 24, a day after the City Council approved the payouts totaling $990,000.

The council agreed to settle with Costa for $550,000 and with Shea for $440,000.

At the time, The Gazette cited “multiple sources with detailed knowledge of the settlements.” Corporation Counsel Carl Falotico had declined to release the numbers citing a nondisclosure agreement.

The settlement agreements include a clause that says the terms and amounts must be kept confidential. The Gazette’s FOIL request for the documents went unanswered until recently.

As part of the agreements, Costa took home a total of $366,666.67 with $183,333.33 paid to her attorneys at D’Orazio Peterson. Shea received $287,083 with $152,917 paid to his attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy and Boyd & Berkowitz.

The settlement money was required to be provided within 30 days of Nov. 23.

Although the two settlements totaled $990,000, the city was only required to meet a deductible with its insurance company of $75,000 each for a total of $150,000, Falotico said.

Costa alleged she was passed over for promotions as a result of sexual harassment. She also claimed she received two separate death threats at the Fire Department. She was terminated from the department on Aug. 23.

Shea claimed he was shoved and tackled from behind by police after committing no crime and posing no threat to others while celebrating the Union College hockey championship in April 2014. He was arrested and charged, with the case later being dismissed.

Shea also alleged he suffered a facial injury when an officer grabbed him by the head and hair and slammed his face into the concrete pavement. The officer named as the defendant, K. Figueroa, is no longer an officer with the Schenectady Police Department.

Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett said that Figueroa retired from the department after the incident and did not leave as a result of the incident.

The city is denying that it’s at fault in connection with the two incidents.

“The payment provided herein is not to be construed as an admission of liability, which it expressly denies, and that this settlement agreement and release arises solely from a compromise,” the agreements state.

As part of the agreements, Costa and Shea cannot disclose details of the incidents, with the exception of inquiries by a government agency.

Costa and Shea also cannot name the city or any city departments “in the context of any general statements about emotional distress.”

Costa also agreed not to apply, seek or accept any employment position with the city in the future. She can still apply for unemployment insurance benefits.

The city’s insurance expenses are expected to increase in 2016 compared to last year, according to Finance Commissioner Deborah DeGenova.

In 2015, the city budgeted $970,000 for insurance but only ended up paying $831,000. Based on that, the city budgeted $912,000 for insurance in the 2016 budget.

But the estimated expenses following a shift in insurance carriers this year is expected to reach $1.2 million, DeGenova said. She said the city has the option to change insurance carriers every year.

The main insurance carriers for the city in 2016 include New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal (NYMIR) and Great American.

Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, [email protected] or @HRViccaro on Twitter.

Leave a Reply