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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 64
Gender: Male
Posts: 25,922
Location: Long Island, New York

14 May 2021, 8:02 am

Councilman’s aide who said he was tormented settles for $850K

A former aide to ex-City Councilman Vincent Gentile — who sued the city alleging coworkers left decapitated teddy bears on his desk and tormented him over his autism — settled his lawsuit with the Big Apple for $850,000, according to records and officials.

Michael Bistreich’s $10 million lawsuit was settled Wednesday after a Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled his case could move forward to trial, according to records and a city Law Department spokesperson.

Gentile had been dismissed as a defendant from the case earlier in the year, and the settlement was with the City of New York.

Bistreich, a former legislative director and budget director for the Bay Ridge lawmaker, brought his suit in 2016, alleging he faced discrimination for his Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.

The staffer alleged coworkers left “mutilated stuffed animals” on his desk after he revealed to them he “identified with” and held emotional attachments to inanimate objects such as plush toys, records show.

He claimed Gentile and senior staff referred to him as “retarded,” threw pencils at his head, locked him in a basement and told him, “You sit there and drool on yourself all day,” court records state.

In 2019, Bistreich leveled more claims against Gentile, alleging the councilman believed he shouldn’t be paid as much as others because of his disability and the fact he lived at home.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman