Former Eastside High School principal Zatiti Moody sought $750,000 and removal of an assistant superintendent to settle his lawsuit against the Paterson school district, according to public documents reviewed by the Paterson Times.
Moody’s demands for a settlement amount, nearly six times his annual salary, and removal of David Cozart, assistant superintendent in charge of high schools, from supervisory capacity, were made in a settlement communication dated May 17, 2018. School officials provided the documents containing the settlement information in response to an open records request.
According to the settlement terms, Moody wanted 93 days of sick time he had used to be reinstated. He also wanted any future medical leave related to the lawsuit be granted without “administrative restraint” or “deduction from his available sick day bank.”
Moody’s attorney Audwin Levasseur did not respond to a call for comment last week.
School board members were presented with Moody’s settlement offer a month later. On Jun. 20, 2018, some board members questioned the settlement amount in a closed-door meeting and refused to settle the case. At the time school district attorneys told the board the case had “no real value” given the investigation report by former New Jersey Supreme Court justice John E. Wallace Jr. that was used to justify the disciplinary actions against Moody.
Moody did not follow district policies and regulations in allowing hometown rapper Fetty Wap to shoot a music video at Eastside High School that featured drugs, gambling, and a pole dancer, Wallace wrote in his report.
Moody was suspended in 2016 for allowing the filming of the video. After the investigation was completed, former superintendent Donnie Evans, placed a negative write up in Moody’s personnel file, according to court documents.
Moody filed the lawsuit in 2017 alleging the disciplinary action taken against him were discriminatory based on race and age. His lawsuit also alleged Cozart allegedly engaged in a number of acts to scrutinize, chastise, and harass him.
“We are gonna get him this time, he will be fired,” Cozart is quoted in the lawsuit saying to a staff member when a second scandal, involving basketball recruitment, broke at the high school.
A judge dismissed Moody’s the case “without prejudice” on Mar. 4, 2019, according to court records.
Moody refiled the lawsuit on Apr. 16, 2019.
Moody has worked for the district for 21 years. His salary is $128,300. He served as principal for the Great Falls Academy in the past school year.