YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: The security guards caught napping on the George Washington Bridge by CLIFFVIEWPILOT last week weren’t the only workers hired by the Port Authority who slept on the job. A state appeals court yesterday overturned a $3.25 million jury award to five electricians canned by the authority for secretly dozing in a Lincoln Tunnel hideaway while working the night shift.
The case had pretty much flown under the media radar. But it came to light with the appeals decision yesterday, and takes on added meaning following last week’s firing of two security guards photographed sleeping at their bridge posts (See: Asleep at the Bridge ).
The photos and accompanying stories produced by CLIFFVIEWPILOT attracted national attention. The photographer, Joey Lepore, was interviewed by reporters from CNN, FOX NEWS and others, and the police union for the authority insisted uniformed officers handle the duties.
The electricians are a different breed: They had won a huge payout in state court, claiming emotional distress and malicious prosecution, after the authority fired them and the Hudson County prosecutor inexplicably dropped the case after obtaining an indictment for theft of services.
However, the appeals judges took the windfall away, ruling that jurors incorrectly took a different view of the facts than an arbitrator who determined the men should be let go.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (its full title) found in 2002 that Steven Dylnicky, William Richie, James Hunter, Dennis Royer and Kevin Schroder forged records to make it look like they were working when they were really out cold somewhere in the south tower. The makeshift break room was outfitted with bunk beds, authority officials said.
One of the five simply carded in to the building with the four others behind him, then carded out 90 seconds later — but remained with the rest of the group for nap time, the authority said.
The five originally were suspended without pay. Following arbitration, they were fired on May 14, 2004.
PHOTO PROPERTY of CLIFFVIEWPILOT LLC
This comes out less than 10 days after CLIFFVIEWPILOT’s exclusive discovery of private security guards napping at their stations.
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Use of photo at left restricted to: (a) including name CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM on the picture wherever and whenever it appears; and (b) hyperlinking to CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM
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