- Last Updated: 10:50 AM, June 17, 2012
- Posted: 12:13 AM, June 17, 2012
He saw something, he said something — and now he’s paying for it.
In a 19-year career as a subway worker, Perry Kinard was almost killed twice. In 1978, a bandit stabbed him in the lung while he was mopping stairs in a Manhattan station. In 1990, he was shot in the chest and head by a crazed drunk in a Queens station.
But New York has repaid Kinard’s sacrifices with a slap.
The city’s biggest pension system — claiming it overpaid him for 22 years — has slashed his monthly allowance from $1,414 to $5.
“How am I supposed to live?” asked the 74-year-old great-grandfather, who has moved to South Carolina and was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Kinard, with four kids to support, eagerly returned to work after the first attack.
In 1990, a drunk began making derogatory remarks about black youths on the platform of the Grand Avenue-Newtown G/R station in Elmhurst. Two plainclothes cops ordered the man to leave, but he returned in a huff. Kinard came out to calm him down.
“Did you call the cops on me?” the 66-year-old drunk asked.
“That’s all I remember, except pop, pop, pop!” Kinard recalled. “A bullet went through my chest. They say with the Lord’s help it didn’t hit the heart.
“The second bullet I’m walking around with in my head. They couldn’t take it out, or it would do more damage,” he said.
In March, the New York City Employee Retirement System (NYCERS) notified Kinard that his disability pension should have been “offset” by the $150 a week in workers’-compensation payments he has received. Instead of $1,414, he deserved only $762 a month, NYCERS said.
On June 1, NYCERS informed Kinard it had overpaid him $163,422 since he retired because it didn’t deduct the workers’ comp. It cut his pension to $5 a month until 2030 to repay the money.
“I gave my life for this job, and this is what they do to me after 22 years. I think it’s awful,” said Kinard, who always thought he had been entitled to both payments.
NYCERS lawyer Karen Mazza would not discuss Kinard but said a review found 37 old pension cases “deemed completed by the prior NYCERS administration,” apparently in error. She said NYCERS is bound by law to recoup any overpayment.
But John Murphy, a former executive director of NYCERS, said the current administrators may be in error. He has already helped a transit cop, retired 28 years, whose pension was wrongly slashed 75 percent because he received workers’- comp payments for a different injury. The pension was reinstated.
Murphy said NYCERS should document the need for these cutbacks so many years later, especially since the fund was aware of Kinard’s wounds and should have known he would be getting workers’ comp.
“They should be as humane as possible,” Murphy said. “It’s as much their fault as anyone’s that this wasn’t resolved at the point of retirement.”