BRONX, N.Y. (CN) – A former Republican candidate for the New York Senate who was sentenced to prison two years ago in an apartment-rental scam claims in a lawsuit filed Friday that he was forced to strip naked and undergo a body-cavity search as punishment for complaining about inadequate medical treatment.
Jon Girodes, a onetime hopeful for the New York Senate’s 30th District in Harlem who had promised to hand out Kool Aid and watermelons to voters during a campaign event, sued New York City in Bronx County Supreme Court over alleged abuse at the hands of two corrections officers.
Girodes was sentenced to at least three years behind bars in 2017 for defrauding 13 prospective apartment renters out of more than $63,000. According to prosecutors, Girodes falsely advertised on Craigslist that he owned his luxury one-bedroom apartment on 42nd Street and offered to rent it for $1,100 a month. He would then back out of the rental agreements after receiving security deposits and rental advances. Girodes pleaded guilty to the charges.
However, once in prison, Girodes required psychological counseling and, according to his lawsuit, was punished by vindictive corrections officers.
The former politician claims he was segregated from the general prison population at the George R. Vierno Center on Rikers Island and had officers escort him to and from the medical clinic outside of regular hours because of media coverage he received during his prosecution.
Represented by attorney Andrew Plasse, Girodes alleges that on the evening of Aug. 4, 2017, he was unable to visit the medical clinic for counseling because there were still other prisoners there, and a corrections officer threatened him with assault if he did not “lock in his cell” by 10 p.m.
After raising the issue to a captain the next day, corrections officers searched Girodes’ cell and then forced him to strip naked and undergo a body cavity search as retaliation for his complaints, according to the lawsuit.
“The strip search on Aug. 5, 2017, including a body cavity search, was an assault and battery perpetrated on the plaintiff,” the lawsuit states.
Girodes claims his medical condition, which is not specified in the complaint, has worsened due to the delay in being able to visit the medical clinic. He seeks $2.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
This is not Girodes’ first lawsuit against city officials for alleged prisoner abuse.
In April, he claimed a corrections officer in the Manhattan Detention Center used racial epithets and threats and denied him access to his laundry or the showers. The officer allegedly told Girodes to “watch out for me when you get out, fucker,” and said “fuck you and President Trump.”
Plasse, who represents Girodes in both cases, said the abuse was relentless and was based on his client’s political views.
“They treated him pretty badly,” the attorney said in an interview. “They were abusing him on a daily basis.”
A representative for the New York City Law Department did not respond to an email seeking comment.