CROWN HEIGHTS — On the same day she lost her job as Brooklyn Community Board 9’s district manager, longtime administrator Pearl Miles hit back with a $20 million age-discrimination lawsuit aimed at the board's leadership and Borough President Eric Adams.
Miles served as district manager for CB9 for 22 years until Tuesday night when the board voted to remove her from the position, citing “a longstanding pattern of misconduct” and “unprofessional behavior,” it said in a letter of removal.
But after the vote, Miles maintained she was an “excellent” administrator and filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday claiming the board’s leaders, the borough president and his staff wanted her fired because of her age, not her abilities as district manager.
The suit claims Adams told the board’s former chairman, Rabbi Jacob Goldstein, that Miles, 66, was "too old" in a meeting at Borough Hall in the spring of 2014. It also claims Adams “wanted to hire ‘new blood’ by replacing Pearl with someone younger.” When Goldstein refused, Adams threatened to not reappoint the rabbi to the board if he wouldn’t remove Miles, the suit says.
An adviser to the borough president, Ingrid Lewis-Martin, also approached Goldstein about Miles, saying “she wanted plaintiff [Miles] fired” because she was “purportedly too old,” according to the lawsuit.
Miles’ attorney, Tamara Harris, said her client's $20 million claim includes “emotional damages” and “punitive damages for malicious conduct."
Stefan Ringel, a spokesman for the borough president, declined to comment because the litigation is pending.
A spokesman for the city's Law Department said that as of 7 p.m. Wednesday it had not been served the lawsuit, but it would "review and evaluate the merits of each claim."
CB9's current chairman, Demetrius Lawrence, who was also named in the suit, said he has never had "any issue" with Miles' age. He stressed that the removal was an effort to "represent the 48 board members" and those served by the board in Crown Heights and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.
"There were concerns from board members and community residents about her misconduct and disrespect," he said in an email after the lawsuit was filed.
Following Tuesday night’s vote, Lawrence thanked Miles for her years of service.
“On behalf of myself and the Community Board 9 members, we want to thank you, Pearl Miles. We appreciate your service… for over 30 years,” he said.