According to the lawsuit filed on December 26, 2013, against Lombardi and the New York City Department of Education, Lisa Calise was fired from her position for rejecting the unwanted advances of Lombardi, though at no point in her teacher’s file was there any mention of the issue.
Calise’s file does include other incidents, including heated disputes with her paraprofessional in front of students, an altercation in the principal’s office with a parent that led to raised voices, and an unwillingness to document the comings and goings of the paraprofessional with whom she was having problems.
In one file note dated June 12, 2012, shortly after she resigned, Calise called the school at approximately 6:30 a.m. and spoke with Monica Rizzo, who took a message from Calise saying she needed Lombardi to call her as soon as possible because she was “upset that he was telling people that she was fired because she had anger issues.”
According to the note, Calise went on to say Lombardi was ruining her reputation, adding that if it were true she would be suing him.
As part of the settlement, several such records will be removed from Calise's file permanently. Lombardi believes her lawsuit was a last ditch attempt to return fire.
“I think she must’ve gotten advice from an attorney on how to put together a case,” he said. “The unfortunate part of this whole situation is that there were not one complaint made to anyone and she had numerous opportunities to make a complaint.”
“She wrote an extensive letter to the superintendent after she was released, why didn’t she bring that up with him?” he added.
In response to an inquiry regarding the settlement, a representative from the city’s Law Department said, “Settling this case was in the best interest of all parties and not an admission of wrongdoing by any of the defendants.”
Lombardi said he’s looking forward to putting all of this behind him. Even though the settlement absolves him from any wrongdoing, he said it doesn't feel that way.
“They closed the case without anybody being asked to testify and no depositions were made, including by me,” he said. “Only informal conversations take place. I felt the case should’ve gone to trial or at least depositions should’ve been made to bring a finality that would’ve exposed the truth.”