City to Recoup $1.4 Million in Department of Education Settlement

By Catherine Yang, Epoch Times
February 11, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

Officials announced a $1.4 million settlement in a civil lawsuit between the city and the Department of Education against six former NYC school custodial employees for defrauding DOE.

The defendants, the custodial employees, had defrauded DOE of hundreds of thousands of dollars intended for maintenance and safety in the schools.

The defrauding was orchestrated by Trifon Radef, a custodian at Roosevelt High School from 2005-2011, and Nicanor Fernandez, a custodian at Truman High School from 2002-2010. They put employees who never showed up on the schools’ payrolls and had other employees submit payment request for work they did not do.ies. 

Radef died in 2011, shortly after his arrest by federal authorities.

The suit, City of New York v. Trifon Radef et al, 11-cv-5770, has been pending before Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York.    

In addition to Radef and Fernandez, the defendants in the City’s civil case were James Coppola, a handyman at Intermediate School 25 in Queens from 2005-2011, Frank Chambers, senior lunch helper at JHS 158 in Queens from 1996-2011, Michael Cunningham, a custodial fireman at Public School 158 in Queens from 1990-2011, and Morris Hampton, a cafeteria workers at JHS 158.