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Old 01-10-2019, 07:32 AM
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Default Cuomo Medicaid boss overlooked alleged racism: suit

https://nypost.com/2019/01/09/cuomo-...d-racism-suit/

Cuomo Medicaid boss overlooked alleged racism: suit
By Kaja Whitehouse
January 9, 2019 | 7:29pm | Updated January 10, 2019 | 12:14am

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top man at the Medicaid Inspector General’s office responded to complaints of “racist behavior” by demanding that the black employee who spoke up stop “upsetting” the white woman she said blasted her for having an “angry black face ,” a new lawsuit claims.

Dennis Rosen, whom Cuomo picked to head OIMG in 2015, created a “discriminatory and hostile work environment” for staff lawyer Ferlande Milford-Francois, according to a new Manhattan federal lawsuit.

Milford-Francois, who has worked in the agency’s New York City office since 2010, says the bad vibes started after she complained about fellow OIMG lawyer Robyn Henzel, who now works for the state Department of Education.

“You have an angry face and attitude, and your angry black face scares me,” Henzel told Milford-Francois, the suit says.

Henzel also falsely told co-workers that Milford-Francois “was going into an empty office to ‘get drugs’ and ‘may have a problem,’” and once threatened to call the police on another black employee because she felt verbally disrespected, the lawsuit alleges.

But instead of investigating Milford-Francois’ claims, Rosen accused the OIMG supervisor of improperly “upsetting” Henzel, the lawsuit said.

“I know you. You are the one always with the f—ing scowl face upsetting Robyn,” the lawsuit quotes Rosen.

Rosen then directed OIMG general counsel Janine Daniels-Rivera “to ensure that Henzel was treated well. ‘If any of you don’t like it, there’s the door,’” he is said to have told staffers.

Milford-Francois was then required to keep her office door open all day “to appear welcoming to Henzel,” she said. The black supervisor was also told that “all managers must personally greet Henzel with ‘good morning’ daily in her office.”

Milford-Francois and legal secretary Latwanda Manson — described as the only other black employee in the Manhattan office — were forbidden from chatting in the hallway, the suit said.

“’You are always carrying on in the hallway. It’s a f***ing gabfest in the office between you two and that is not comfortable for people,’” Rosen barked, according to the suit.

A spokesperson for OMIG said the office “has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind and we take all allegations of this nature incredibly seriously. We believe these allegations have no merit and we will vigorously defend the agency in court.”

Henzel, who was not named as a defendant in the civil suit, said she was not aware of its claims and declined comment.
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