Community Board Manager Fired, Files Lawsuit

Longtime district manager of Brooklyn Community Board 9 Pearl Miles was ousted yesterday, and she has since filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, claiming he and others schemed to discriminate against her based on her age.

Ms. Miles, who is 66 years old, has been serving as the board’s district manager for 22 years – until yesterday. During the board’s monthly meeting a vote was held to remove her based on allegations of “misconduct” and “unprofessional behavior.” The vote passed 33 to 7, with 3 abstentions.

Later that same day, Miles filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit in federal court claiming that she was discriminated upon based on her age.

DNAinfo:

Members of Brooklyn Community Board 9 voted Tuesday to remove their longstanding top administrator, following hours of debate and a year of controversy surrounding the board’s handling of a rezoning proposal in the area.

District Manager Pearl Miles has been stripped of her title “effective immediately” after 30 years of service, said board chairman Demetrius Lawrence after the vote Tuesday night. Thirty-two board members voted to remove her, he said, with seven “no” votes and three abstentions.

The board considered the decision in a two-hour, closed-door executive session during a monthly full board meeting held at M.S. 61 in Crown Heights in which Miles was given a chance to respond to a letter of intent to remove her sent by Lawrence and CB9’s top leaders last week.

The letter claimed Miles engaged in “a longstanding pattern of misconduct,” “unprofessional behavior” and has left locals feeling that she is “gravely out of touch with the community that she is employed to serve.”

Those charges have also been leveled at Miles by the local activist group Movement to Protect the People, who repeatedly asked for her resignation in the past year as the board considered a controversial request to the Department of City Planning to begin a rezoning study in the district, including Crown Heights and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.

During that time, Miles became the focus for near-constant protests by MTOPP at CB9’s monthly meetings, particularly after she was found to have incorrectly recorded the result of a key vote on the rezoning issue, altering the outcome of the measure.

As the vote was announced after 11 p.m. Tuesday night, members of MTOPP, including its controversial leader Alicia Boyd, broke out into applause and cheers; Lawrence immediately called for order.

“This is not a celebratory moment,” he said.

Boyd, speaking from the middle of the auditorium, shouted back: “Speak for yourself.”

The letter to Miles did not directly address the rezoning controversy, but sources on the board said the effort to remove her started months ago, at the height of the debate over the land use issue.

After the vote, Miles did not publicly address the allegations against her, asking only that she be given three days to clear out her office.

Speaking to DNAinfo later, she said “there was no supporting documentation” for the allegations against her and said she plans to file a lawsuit against the board over the removal.

“I am an excellent district manager. I know my job,” she said.

In her role, Miles was responsible for organizing the board’s monthly meetings, keeping its records and conducting business at the board office on Nostrand Avenue. She served as assistant district manager at CB9 for eight years and 22 years as district manager. As a city employee, she was paid $124,180 last year, according to public salary data from the Empire Center.

Following the vote Tuesday night, Lawrence appointed seven CB9 members to head up a search committee to find a replacement for Miles, which will begin work this week to find appropriate candidates, he said.

NYPost:

The ousted long-time district manager of Community Board 9 in Brooklyn says Borough President Eric Adams seemed to have schemed to have her canned because at 66 she was “too old” for the job, according to a $10 million lawsuit.

The board — half of which is appointed by the borough president — fired Pearl Miles late Tuesday even after Adams, his senior advisor and several board members had already been served with the federal suit.

“You would have thought that being served they would have delayed the vote but around midnight they fired her,” Miles lawyer, Tamara Harris, told The Post. “She was fired without cause. It was a matter of her age, and Eric Adams wanted her out.”“Now that it’s a reality that strengthens our case.”

Miles, who served as district manager for 22 years following eight as an assistant, claims that Adams worked behind the scenes to forced her ouster — even though as a state senator in 2011 he wrote a glowing commendation of her, the suit claims.

“I was told, you’re too old. You need to retire,” Miles told The Post, referring to Adams’ allies on the board. “Ever since Eric Adams came into office I feel they have been trying to get me out.”

The trouble began in January 2014, when Adams advisor and co-defendant Ingrid Martin told then-board chair Jacob Goldstein that she wanted Miles fired “because plaintiff was reportedly too old and she wanted to replace plaintiff with someone younger,” the suit says.

Goldstein refused, telling Martin firing someone because of her age was illegal — and that Miles was good at her job.

Adams then told Goldstein, who served in that post for 31 years during an April 2014 meeting in Borough Hall that he’d be voted out as chair unless he played ball.he played ball and voted for Miles’ ouster, Goldstein told The Post.

“I am borough president, what I say goes, and you listen to me,” Adams said, according to an affidavit from Goldstein.

“Pearl is an exemplary public official. She knows city government inside out and how it functions. Board 9 is blessed to have her as a district manager,” Goldstein said in the document.

“I’m outraged. The charges are specious. I dare them to come up with something in her personnel file that’s negative against her,” Goldstein added Wednesday.

Miles never received any written discipline, the suit says.

In fact, she received “30 awards for exemplary service” — including the one from Adams.

“The board acts as a puppet of Mr. Adams,” the suit states, adding that he has padded the board with 25 “handpicked” members loyal to him.

But even before the meeting, defendant Demetrius Lawrence cut off her email on orders from Adams, the suit states.

Miles is seeking $7,500 in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages for “pain and anguish.”

A rep for Adams said the office does not comment on pending litigation.

4 Comments

  • 2. yankiv wrote:

    and yet we frum voted for this Adams fellow who treated our beloved reb yaakov like dirt and bullied him.

  • 3. Jay Sorid, Esq wrote:

    On September 24, 2013, Chairperson Jacob Goldstein passes the Bridge Mental Health Housing project in the middle of Maple Street Crown Heights with only 15 out of 30 votes, less than the majority needed according to the NYC Charter. How does someone do this for 35 years and not know that 15 out of 30 is not a majority ?

    The Bridge Mental Housing project will include individuals with serious mental health illnesses who also may have drug addiction, those leaving psych wards, homeless from the shelters, and Assisted Outpatient Treatment patients who “based on treatment history and current behavior, is in need of outpatient treatment to prevent a relapse or deterioration likely to result in serious harm to self or others” ( See NYS OMH Assisted Outpatient Treatment), and those who may be leaving the prisons with mental health issues.

    Last year, there were about 17 sex offenders residing at 681 Clarkson Ave which is the building on the corner of Albany & Clarkson.

    Pearl Miles also didn’t say anything about this incorrect vote approval and was the one in charge of counting the votes. The actual vote was 14 votes with one board member saying they voted no (Simone Bennett) and not yes. It is no matter, 15 out of 30 is still not a majority.

    Chairperson Goldstein and the entire board ignored my pleas, at several board meetings to correct the vote before they start building.

    Chairperson Goldstein as CEO/Chairperson of CB 9 had the RIGHT TO OBJECT to placing this mental health housing on a residential block which has another recently mental health facility down the block next on East New York Ave next to True Value. ( See NYS Mental Health Law 41.34(c)(1) ) Chairperson Goldstein not only voted yes, which is his right, but passed the project without a majority of votes. Shortly after the community board vote gave its approval, the Bridge Mental Housing purchased the property with grant money which flowed in.

    This project, includes 50 plus units for individuals with serious mental health illnesses and a dozen units for senior affordable housing. At the same time Chairperson Goldstein voted for this project which includes affordable housing units, he was the assistant commissioner of NYS Homes and Community Renewal, which is in charge of affordable housing production, ( See Through NY states Jacob Z Goldstein was the Assistant Commissioner of NYS HCR)

    So while the Jewish fathers are at work, and the Jewish mothers take care of the infants, the kinderlach will prance and skip along Maple Street, a residential block, between Utica and Schenectady, like sheep in the path of..

    The date of the vote was September 24, 2013, the festival of Sukkot, commemorating G-d’s enveloping protection of the Children of Israel during their 40-year journey through the desert. Exactly 30 days after this travesty of justice, on October 24, 2013 Hurricane Sandy formed and the floods came.

    Your Jewish leaders let you down.
    I don’t live in the community.
    But as a member of the Kingsbrook Shul, I feel a responsibility to blow the shofar, to warn and ask the community for fight for the safety of Maple Street, which will be the center of the Crown Heights Jewish community in the next 50 years.

    I will continue fighting this project, and will leave Crown Heights thereafter. I don’t want to come back to Crown Heights for a shiva call of one of my friends or their family. Pearl Miles and Jacob Goldstein should not be praised for their actions.

    I get no pleasure or gain from writing this, but the Rebbe’s videos spoke of strength, and as a descendant of Holocaust survivors in a post Holocaust world, Jews must stand up for other Jews.

    We are rams, not sheep, and may the soul sparks which each of us have, be ignited at the right time to fight and keep us safe tonight, tomorrow and in the days that follow.

    ( The proposed Maple Street Housing building is “On HOLD” status at the Department of Buildings as a result of my DOB challenge )

  • 4. concerned for safety wrote:

    This is a great moment for our community!
    Perhaps now we will be able to have corrected another “incorrectly recorded key vote” which allows for a “new development” to be built on East New York between Schenectady and Utica, which is designated for residents with a history of mental disorders, and/or criminal past and homeless.
    This housing project will bring ex-convicts and mentality unstable individuals right into our neighborhood.
    Bnos Menachem in ONE block away!!!
    This Project was approved and endorsed by our own Jack Goldstein!!!
    He actually works for the NYSHCR (NY State Homes and Community Renewal). That should explain why he voted and supported and facilitated this false vote together with Pearl Miles, and ignored the safety concerns of OUR COMMUNITY.
    If you want to know more about this impending danger ask any of th yungeleit who moved into the Kingsbrook Hospital area, they are all furious about this.

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