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Hamtramck settles whistleblower lawsuit

Nicquel Terry
The Detroit News

The city of Hamtramck has settled a whistleblower lawsuit with its former public works director that alleged officials retaliated against him for reporting police misconduct and discrimination against Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans.

Mark Michael Koroi, the attorney for the former employee Steve Shaya, said Hamtramck released a check for $75,000 last week after reaching a settlement with Shaya in September.

As a result, U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman dismissed the case on Friday.

Shaya, who is now a general manager for the Detroit Public Works Department, filed the whistleblower lawsuit against Hamtramck and police officials in February 2014, three months after Shaya said the city framed him in a hit-and-run accident on Nov. 15, 2013, when he complained about a Hamtramck police officer's violation of the city's ethics laws.

Koroi said the police officer was working as a subcontractor fixing police vehicles, which was a conflict of interest.

On Dec. 11, 2013, police charged Shaya with leaving the scene of an accident, according to his lawsuit. The same day, he requested a copy of documents related to the alleged accident. Six days later, the charges were dismissed, the suit said.

Shaya also alleged in the lawsuit that city officials were harassing Muslim-Americans and Arab-American residents.

Koroi said he and Shaya were “reasonably satisfied” with the $75,000 settlement.

“The amount of the settlement speaks for itself,” Koroi said. “They spent a lot of money to get it dismissed.”

Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The city subsequently fired Shaya in September 2014, claiming he didn’t pay his city income tax, Koroi said.

Shaya then filed a separate wrongful discharge lawsuit against the city for the dismissal. That case is expected to go to trial, Koroi said.


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