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Home Government City of Rye in $3.25 Million Settlement with Undisclosed Litigant

City of Rye in $3.25 Million Settlement with Undisclosed Litigant

(PHOTO: Councilwoman Julie Souza made the motion in favor of a $3,25 million dollar settlement by the City of Rye with an undisclosed litigant late on December 21, 2022.)
(PHOTO: Councilwoman Julie Souza made the motion in favor of a $3,25 million dollar settlement by the City of Rye with an undisclosed litigant late on December 21, 2022.)

[This story was updated with new developments on Tuesday evening.]

Late in the evening on Wednesday, December 21st in their last action at their last 2022 meeting, the Rye City Council approved a $3.25 million dollar settlement with an undisclosed “John Doe”.

Asked for further details on who and what warranted such a sizable payout, Rye City Manager Greg Usry said on Tuesday “There is nothing more to add beyond what was in the resolution.” The resolution, made by Councilwoman Julie Souza and seconded by Councilwoman Emily Hurd was “to allocate $3.25 million from the Undesignated Fund Balance for the settlement of John Doe v. City of Rye, and $35,000 from the same fund for attorney fees.”

The motion was made under the “Old Business / New Business” agenda item for the December 21st meeting. The published agenda had no detail that a $3.25 million City payout would be voted on during the meeting, just a minute before the Council meeting ended at 9pm, days before the Christmas holiday.

To give some perspective, the $3.25 million represents over 7% of the City’s 2023 total budget. The council voted as follows:

(PHOTO: The Council voted in favor of a $3,25 million dollar settlement by the City of Rye with an undisclosed litigant late on December 21, 2022.)
(PHOTO: The Council voted in favor of a $3,25 million dollar settlement by the City of Rye with an undisclosed litigant late on December 21, 2022.)

The vote:

ROLL CALL
Ayes: Mayor Cohn, Councilmembers Hurd, Johnson, Nathan, Souza, Stacks Nays: None
Absent: Councilman Henderson

Watch the motion and the vote (60 seconds):

2 COMMENTS

  1. The NYS courts website lists a lawsuit filed in NYS Supreme Court almost 3 years ago versus the City of Rye, Rye Fire Dept and Rye DPW by a “John Doe” that appears to have been settled December 8, 2022 (filed with the court on December 27, 2022). The Index # is 52333/2020. Beyond sadly, the suit alleged that Lt. Elwood “Joe” Ferris of the Rye Fire Dept sexually abused a 7-year old boy between 20 and 40 times at the Milton Firehouse and the Durland Scout Center back in 1972; that Rye Fire Dept. Chief Harry Mooney observed at least some of the abuse and participated in some; that a Rye DPW employee was at times present and knew about the abuse and did nothing to stop it; that Ferris confessed to the Rye PD soon after committing such abuse; and that Ferris pled guilty to and was convicted of Attempted Sexual Abuse in the First Degree and was sentenced in 1973 to 5 years probation. The suit appears to have been filed within the 1-year window for previously statutorily-disqualified claims provided by the 2019 Child Victims Act. The allegations are heinous and unimaginable. The city did file a 3rd-party claim against the Boy Scouts of Westchester-Putnam and America, but after a cursory read of the John Doe complaint, I cannot imagine any plausible defense that the city would have had. The NYS court website reflects that a stipulation of discontinuance as to the city, the Fire Dept and the DPW was filed on December 27, 2022.

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