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DEFIORE v. VIGNOLA

July 12, 1994

ANTHONY E. DEFIORE
v.
JOSEPH C. VIGNOLA



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. CURTIS JOYNER

 JOYNER, J.

 This employment discrimination action was tried non-jury before the undersigned on April 12-13, 1994. The parties have submitted their proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and the matter is now ripe for adjudication. Accordingly, this Court hereby makes the following factual findings and legal conclusions.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Plaintiff, Anthony DeFiore is an adult individual who presently, and at all times relevant to this action, resided at 1408 South 9th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mr. DeFiore has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master's degree in Urban Planning from New York University. (N.T. 4/12/94, 78-79).

 2. Defendant, Joseph Vignola, is an adult individual who presently, and at all times relevant to this action, serves as the duly-elected Philadelphia City Councilman for the First Councilmanic District. (N.T. 4/12/94, 8). The First Council-manic District runs from approximately Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia between Broad Street and the Delaware River, along portions of Front Street to Kensington Avenue and encompasses neighborhoods in portions of both South and North Philadelphia and the Kensington, Fishtown and Port Richmond sections of the city. (N.T. 4/12/94, 34-35, 54-55; 4/13/94, 38).

 3. Both Anthony DeFiore and Joseph Vignola are active members of the Philadelphia Democratic Party. (N.T. 4/12/94, 53, 80-86).

 4. Mr. Vignola was first elected to the position of Councilman for the First District in the November, 1991 election and was sworn into office on January 6, 1992. Mr. Vignola's predecessor in that office, James "Jimmy" Tayoun, had resigned from that position in April, 1991 shortly after he was indicted on federal criminal charges. (N.T. 4/12/94, 8; Deposition of James Tayoun, 9/21/93, 5-6).

 5. Anthony DeFiore worked as an administrative assistant for Councilman Tayoun prior to his resignation. In his position with Councilman Tayoun's office, Mr. DeFiore was primarily responsible for delivering constituent services. (N.T. 4/12/94, 79-80, 105).

 6. Constituent Service Work consists primarily of assisting residents/constituents of the district with any problems which they may have and runs the gamut from helping them to resolve utility bill and trash collection problems to securing street repairs to helping with funeral arrangements. (N.T. 4/12/94, 11-12, 82, 143-145, 154).

 7. On May 1, 1991, shortly after Jimmy Tayoun resigned from his councilman's position for the First District, Joseph Vignola met with Mr. Tayoun and his staff and several other members of the Philadelphia Democratic Party in an effort to garner additional support for Mr. Vignola's campaign for Mr. Tayoun's former seat on city council. At that meeting, Mr. Vignola stated that, with the exception of Mr. Tayoun's Chief of Staff, he would not let the members of Mr. Tayoun's staff go simply because they had been hired by another elected official. Instead, Mr. Vignola said that if elected, he would review Mr. Tayoun's employees and if he could keep them on he would do so or assist them in securing employment elsewhere. (N.T. 4/12/94, 14-16, 56-57).

 8. Shortly after the May, 1991 meeting between Mr. Vignola and Mr. Tayoun and their supporters, Anthony DeFiore was laid off from his administrative assistant's position with the City of Philadelphia by then-City Council President Coleman for lack of work. (N.T. 4/12/94, 105-107).

 9. In or about June, 1991, Anthony DeFiore volunteered to work in and for Joseph Vignola's campaign for Mr. Tayoun's city council seat. (N.T. 4/12/94, 87, 105-107).

 10. When Joseph Vignola was sworn in as First District City Councilman on January 6, 1992, Anthony DeFiore became a member of his staff as the Director of Constituent Services at an annual salary ...


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