UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
MICHAEL J. KOLESAR,
Plaintiff, 10 Civ. ( )
PAUL FEINER, KEVIN MORGAN, FRANCIS COMPLAINT
SHEEHAN, DIANNA JUETTNER, SONJA
BROWN, TIMOTHY LEWIS, and the TOWN
OF GREENBURGH, New York,
Jury Trial Demanded
Plaintiff MICHAEL J. KOSESAR, by his attorneys Lovett & Bellantoni, LLP,
for his complaint respectfully states:
NATURE OF THE ACTION
1. This is an action for compensatory and punitive damages, proximately resulting
from Defendants’ conduct as engaged in jointly and under color of the laws of the State
of New York, for violations of Plaintiff’s rights as guaranteed by the First Amendment to
the United States Constitution, 42 U.S.C. §1983
2. The Court’s jurisdiction is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§1331, 1343.
3. Plaintiff MICHAEL J. KOLESAR is a citizen of the United States, a
domiciliary of the State of New York, and a resident of the Northern Counties. Prior to
March 24, 2009, Plaintiff was the duly appointed Comptroller of the Defendant Town of
Greenburgh. In his capacity as Comptroller Plaintiff had no policy making
responsibilities; rather he enforced policies as established by the Town Board of the
Town of Greenburgh and in that connection among other responsibilities he: reviewed
claims/vouchers for payment; oversaw the calculation of overtime payments to insure
they were consistent with pertinent collective bargaining agreements; reviewed proposed
budget submissions by Town departments to the Town Board; responded to freedom of
information requests in accordance with New York State law; prepared a comprehensive
annual financial report; was responsible for the preparation of the Town’s Official
Statement in connection with the issuance of the Town’s public offers of debt; and inter
alia worked in conjunction with bond counsel.
4. Defendants PAUL FEINER (hereinafter “Feiner”), KEVIN MORGAN
(hereinafter “Morgan”), FRANCIS SHEEHAN (hereinafter “Sheehan”), DIANNA
JUETTNER (hereinafter “Juettner”), and SONJA BROWN (hereinafter “Brown”), each
of whom is sued in his/her personal and individual capacities only, at all times relevant to
this complaint were elected members of the Town Board of the Defendant municipality.
Feiner, the Town Supervisor, has held that position since in or about 1992.
5. Defendant TOWN OF GREENBURGH, New York (hereinafter the “Town”),
is a municipal corporate subdivision of the State of New York duly existing by reason of
and pursuant to the laws of said State. Defendant TIMOTHY LEWIS (hereinafter
“Lewis”), at all times relevant to this complaint, was the Town Attorney.
THE MATERIAL FACTS
6. During Feiner’s tenure as Supervisor the Town has engaged in a pattern of
systemic illegal activities involving millions of dollars affecting the Internal Revenue
Service and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Specifically over
years the Town omitted uniform allowances paid to police and certain other Town
employees entitled to the same from earned income reported on their W-2’s and failed to
report as taxable income moneys withheld from certain employees paychecks for
purposes of medical insurance.
7. In early February 2009 Plaintiff reported the illegal practices referenced in the
preceding paragraph “6” to Defendants and recommended taking proactive corrective
action by contacting the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State Department of
Taxation and Finance to report the incorrect preparation and filing of employees W-2’s
over many years.
8. On February 13, 2009, Lewis personally advised Plaintiff on behalf of himself
and his co-defendants that if he (Plaintiff) discussed with anyone - - including bond
counsel and the Town’s external financial advisor - - the false W-2 forms that had been
generated and distributed by the Town in prior years Plaintiff would be terminated.
Chilled by reason of that overt threat, Plaintiff refrained from discussing the inaccurate
W-2’s with bond counsel, the Town’s external financial advisor, the IRS and the New
York State Department of Taxation and Finance; as a consequence he was not then
9. In early March of 2009 Plaintiff was invited to attend as a guest speaker on
March 16, 2009, a meeting of the Edgemont Community Council (a group representing a
number of local civic associations in the Town, hereinafter referred to as the “Council”).
Plaintiff had previously notified Feiner of an earlier invitation to meet with the Council
and in response Feiner encouraged Plaintiff to “speak [his] mind” at the meeting.
10. Plaintiff had no job duty as Comptroller to attend the subject meeting. He was
not paid to do so as part of his job responsibilities as Comptroller, and he had no
obligation as Comptroller to communicate his ideas and/or opinions regarding the
Town’s financial operations to the attendees at the Council meeting.
11. During the Council meeting Plaintiff, speaking as a citizen/taxpayer,
expressed to those in attendance his concern that for the lack of “oversight and control
over the. . .revenue streams” of certain departments in the Town and the lack of internal
financial controls necessary to protect against waste, fraud, inefficiency, and to ensure
accounting accuracy. In that connection Plaintiff addressed a recent audit report
concerning the Town’s Justice Court indicating how a lack of internal financial controls
undermined the financial integrity of that Court. Further explaining. Plaintiff expressed
his opinion that a “disclaimer” given in connection with the Court’s audit evidences the
fact that the auditors “can’t even figure out what’s going on”. Or, as Plaintiff expressed to
the Council: “This is the first time in my life I’ve seen that [a disclaimer] given out”.
12. Plaintiff’s expression of opinion to the Council was shortly thereafter the
subject of local media reports as a result of which Feiner on March 20, 2009, ordered
Plaintiff to submit to the Defendants a detailed report justifying by way of fact what he
had expressed to the Council
13. Plaintiff complied with Feiner’s directive and as a result was summoned to
attend an executive session of the Town Board held on March 24, 2009. Each of the
individually named Defendants was present.
14. During that executive session Morgan questioned why Plaintiff had expressed
his opinions to the Council and embarrassed the Town Board - - reminding Plaintiff that
he (Morgan) had met with Plaintiff in Plaintiff’s office on September 11, 2008, regarding
possible outsourcing of payroll functions and obtaining additional staff for the
Comptroller’s office. Plaintiff in turn reminded Morgan that at that September 11th
meeting Morgan - - in obvious recognition of the Town’s corrupt financial practices - -
had told Plaintiff: “You have enough C4 in this office to blow this place sky high”.
15. Following discussion of Plaintiff’s expression of opinion at the Council
meeting Feiner asked for Plaintiff’s resignation. Plaintiff refused, and Feiner then advised
that he wanted Plaintiff terminated.
16. Within minutes after Plaintiff was dismissed from the executive session
Morgan and Feiner proceeded to the Deputy Town Comptroller’s office in Town Hall
and informed Plaintiff that he had been terminated as Comptroller and was required to
vacate both his office and Town Hall immediately.
17. As a proximate result of Defendants’ conduct Plaintiff has been forced to
suffer: the retaliatory loss of employment because of his good faith expression of opinion
to the Council; economic losses; public humiliation; public embarrassment; public
shame; anxiety; emotional upset; impairment of his professional career; and he has
otherwise been rendered sick and sore.
AS AND FOR A FIRST CLAIM
18. Repeats and realleges as if fully set forth the allegations of fact contained in
paragraphs “1” to “17”, inclusive.
19. Under the premises Defendants’ termination of Plaintiff’s employment as
Comptroller violated his rights as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United
States Constitution, 42 U.S.C. §1983.
AS AND FOR A SECOND CLAIM
20. Repeats and realleges as if fully set forth the allegations of fact contained in
paragraphs “1” to “17”, inclusive.
21. Under the premises Lewis’ February 13, 2009, threat - - as made on behalf of
all of the individually named Defendants - - chilled Plaintiff in the exercise of his rights
as guaranteed by the First Amendment, 42 U.S.C. §1983.
WHEREFORE judgment is respectfully demanded:
a. Awarding against the individually named Defendants such punitive
damages as the jury may impose,
b. Awarding against all Defendants such compensatory damages as the
jury may determine,
c. Awarding against all Defendants reasonable attorney’s fees and costs,
d. Granting such other and further relief as to the Court seems just and
Dated: Hawthorne, N.Y.
LOVETT & BELLANTONI, LLP
Jonathan Lovett (4854)
Attorneys for Plaintiff
37A Saw Mill River Road
Hawthorne, N.Y. 10532