INJURED ILLEGAL ALIEN GOT $5.25M CITY PAYOFF
By MURRAY WEISS, NY Post
The city paid an illegal-immigrant repairman from Hungary who fell off a Rikers Island roof $5.25 million because of a loophole that let small contractors avoid insuring their workers, The Post has learned.
The extraordinary settlement, reached in February, stemmed from a failure to include a routine indemnification clause in a $98,500 Correction Department contract with the now-defunct C&Z Contractors, of Queens.
Such a clause would have barred injured workers from suing the city.
Instead, the city found itself on the hook when Roland Hocza tumbled 20 feet, breaking both wrists and some vertebrae, on Jan. 23, 2006.
Prior to that, the city had not required small contractors to provide insurance protection on jobs under $100,000. It has since changed its policy, requiring indemnification on all work.
Hocza's illegal status surfaced in his lawsuit and therefore cannot be used against him. He essentially has been indemnified -- from deportation.
City lawyers at first said Hocza, 30, could simply return to Hungary, where he had family and could receive free medical care. During the trial, however, they threw in the towel.
His lawyer, Barry Washor, said Hocza, who came here in 1999, still has difficulty moving and can no longer drive.