Spitzer's Father Defends Himself in Bias Suit

Four men claim they were fired in 1999 because of their skin color

Eliot Spitzer's father is defending himself against allegations that his real estate company discriminated against four black workers.

The 84-year-old father of the former New York governor appeared in a Bronx courthouse Monday to fight a bias lawsuit brought by a doorman and three porters in a Manhattan apartment building owned by the Spitzer family.

The men claim they were fired in 1999 because of their skin color.

Bernard Spitzer testified that he had nothing to do with hiring or firing the workers. The building is managed by a separate company, Gumley-Haft Inc.

"As far as I know, their termination was in no way, in no way affected by the color of their skin," he said. Elaborating, he said he didn't notice the ethnicity of the workers in his buildings.

"I don't see the blackness or whiteness or pinkness or yellowness of a doorman," he said.

The workers, who are seeking $2 million apiece, claim they were replaced by whites or light-skinned Hispanics. Gumley-Haft Inc. was also sued by the men, but settled the case for an undisclosed sum.

The trial is expected to last for several days.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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