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PRESS RELEASE: FEDERAL JUDGE REJECTS RACIAL DISCRIMINATION CASE

Date Posted: January 23, 2023

In a decision handed down today, United States District Court Judge David G. Larimer dismissed the lawsuit filed by Irondequoit Town Councilwoman Patrina Freeman against the Town and two councilmembers, John Perticone and Kimie Romeo. The lawsuit was filed in March of 2022 and alleged various forms of racial discrimination centered around the formation of a town committee called ICARE, which was created under the leadership of former Town Supervisor Seely and chaired by Freeman.

Judge Larimer found that Freeman did not present facts demonstrating racial discrimination, but instead only complained of political differences. Judge Larimer wrote, 

“Plaintiff shows her true colors here:  she wants the Court to stop the Board’s negative (in her view) decisions concerning ICARE.  That is clearly something that the Court cannot and should not do.”

As Judge Larimer explained in the opening passage of the decision, quoting the United States Supreme Court: “It is hostile to the democratic system to involve the judiciary in the politics of the people. And it is not less pernicious if such judicial intervention in an essentially political contest be dressed up in the abstract phrases of the law.”

The Attorney for the Town also noted that similarly summarily dismissed, in a separate proceeding, was Councilmember Freeman’s complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which alleged that because of her race, she was denied resources and benefits, retaliated against, and otherwise treated differently from her colleagues.  The EEOC concluded that Councilmember Freeman was not entitled to the relief she sought even before engaging in the typical fact-finding process. 

The following are statements from Town Leaders:

“We are pleased that U.S. District Court Judge David G. Larimer was able to see through these baseless claims and moved to dismiss this case,” said Irondequoit Town Supervisor, Rory Fitzpatrick. “This lawsuit was meant to divide our Town Board and community, but we never let it distract us from the important day-to-day business of addressing the concerns and needs of our residents. We now look forward to focusing on exciting upcoming town projects and continuing to build on our theme of One Irondequoit, where every voice matters.”

Councilwoman Kimie Romeo added, “With this dismissal behind us, I’m hopeful that decorum will return to the dais and the Town can return to focusing on the business of the people.”

“In light of this decision, I call on Councilwoman Patrina Freeman to resign,” said Irondequoit Town Councilman John Perticone. “This frivolous lawsuit has cost our taxpayers and the Town money and time, not to mention the personal attacks that we have all had to endure.”

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