DOC Denies Report That Its Former Corrections Chief Of Staff Refused To Have A Black Secretary

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Written by Ann Brown

The Former New York City Department of Correction Commissioner chief of staff didn’t want Black secretary working for him, according to a new report.

A former jails captain in human resources testified that then-DOC chief of staff Jeff Thamkittikasem demanded a secretary who wasn’t Black. 

Capt. Carolyn Marajo worked in DOC’s Human Resources office in 2016. She later received a $45,000 settlement from the city after alleging that DOC brass had mishandled her promotion to captain because she was Black, New York Daily News reported.

Maraj was deposed in connection with a lawsuit brought by three former senior officials at DOC who said they were discriminated against because they are Black. That suit was settled earlier this year for $275,000.

DOC
Three former high-ranking members of the Department of Correction received a $275,000 settlement after alleging discrimination and manipulation of statistics on violence behind bars due to pressure from City Hall. Pictured: Assistant Commissioner Keith Taylor, New York City Correction Department, Sheriff Errol D. Toulon, Jr., Suffolk County, NY. Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Charles Daniels, Alabama Department of Corrections

“(Thamkittikasem) did not want any African-American secretary. When I was doing the staffing, hiring for the secretaries in that office, he did not want an African-American assistant,” Maraj said under oath in January. 

“He told you not to hire an African-American assistant to work for him?” attorney Rocco Avallone asked.

“For him, correct,” Maraj replied.

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Thamkittikasem, who is Asian, never said why he did not want a Black secretary according toMaraj.

City Hall officials said Maraj’s allegations were investigated and were untrue.

“This never happened. Baseless attempts to defame Jeff’s character will not be dignified with a response from this administration,” a spokeswoman said.

These new allegations about Thamkittikasem, the current director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations, emerged one day after the Daily News reported that he approved a nearly $1 million payment to McKinsey & Company in July 2017 over the objections of staff.

Thamkittikasem has been a donor to NYC Mayor de Blasio. After taking the lead at the Department of Correction, he landed at City Hall where he served on a task force overseeing the closure of the jail on Rikers Island.

This isn’t the first questionable act for Thamkittikasem. When the De Blasio official got promoted despite once using a city vehicle for personal use in 2017 — a major no-no — many voiced their outrage.