Firefighter claims FDNY boss ‘leaked’ his failed drug test

Written By kom nampuldu on Selasa, 10 Februari 2015 | 18.18

A firefighter who was a face of the FDNY hiring-discrimination suit that cost the city $98 million says a vengeful colleague blabbed to The Post about his testing positive for marijuana — and now, he's suing his Bravest bosses over it.

Kevin Simpkins, 47, who is still facing the ax over the positive 2012 drug test, claims his privacy was breached in retaliation for his role as one of the lead plaintiffs in the class-action case that resulted in an overhaul of hiring policies at the FDNY, including a monitor, and the massive settlement by the de Blasio administration with 1,500 plaintiffs last March.

In his new suit, filed in Brooklyn federal court, Simpkins claims that Battalion Chief Rory Houton leaked the results of his urine test to The Post and that the disclosure resulted in an unflattering article.

"These illegal acts were done to humiliate, intimidate, discredit and retaliate against Mr. Simpkins and other firefighters involved in challenging the FDNY's racially discriminatory hiring practices," the suit states

The disclosures caused "Mr. Simpkins, his wife and children severe shame, embarrassment, humiliation and emotional distress, as well as injury to Mr. Simpkins' reputation," the suit states.

In addition, the suit alleges Houton and others passed along incorrect information about an on-duty auto accident involving Simpkins and his subsequent application for disability, which was also reported by The Post.

A firefighter since 2003, Simpkins joined the 2007 discrimination case after claiming his hiring was unnecessarily delayed because of a biased 1999 exam.

He was eventually appointed as a representative of the class of black firefighters who took on the city and emerged as one of the few named plaintiffs.

In his suit, Simpkins says he received a letter at his Queens home in October 2012 informing him that he had failed a drug test. The document listed 19 other "FDNY personnel" who also received a copy of the letter — including Houton, the suit states.

Calling the alleged leak a civil-rights violation, Simpkins' attorney, Darius Charney, argued that FDNY regulations and state law prohibit the disclosure of personal information, including drug-test results.

Charney also blasted the FDNY's Bureau of Investigations and Trials for failing to properly find the source by neglecting to subpoena key records that could have led to an unmasking.

Houton, the suit states, was the only person to object to the subpoenas.

The FDNY's investigatory arm eventually found Simpkins' claim of retaliation and improper disclosure "unsubstantiated," according to the suit.

Houton declined to comment and Simpkins did not return a call for comment.

A city Law Department spokesman said the agency will review the lawsuit.

Citing pending litigation, the FDNY would not comment on the case.


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