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A bankrupt group of Long Island school bus companies are suing 47 districts for nonpayment after the onset of the coronavirus closed schools, according to Newsday.
The firms, all run by the Baumann family of Ronkonkoma, contend that 1,200 people lost their jobs because districts breached their contracts.
The case is seeking $20 million in damages, according to the report.
The Baumann-affiliated companies had operated in both Nassau and Suffolk counties for 60 years before being forced into bankruptcy after the widespread closure of schools in the spring, the paper said.
The suit argues that the districts had the funds to pay the contracts and had also received federal pandemic assistance.
“Every school district employee in the State of New York was paid,” attorney Richard Hamburger, who is representing the companies, told Newsday. “The only people who didn’t get paid in the school districts were the contractors.”
The city Department of Education continued to pay bus companies after the shuttering of schools.
These deals included a controversial $890 million contract for bus services that will be overseen by a city-run nonprofit that bought out a politically connected operator earlier this year.
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