The aide suffered grief after he found decapitated stuffed animals at his desk, he charges in the suit.
A legislative aide with Asperger’s Syndrome endured so much humiliation in Brooklyn City Councilman Vincent Gentile’s office — including decapitated teddy bears left on his desk — that he had to quit, a $10 million lawsuit alleges.
Michael Bistreich, Gentile’s former legislation and budget director, claims he was "subjected to degrading and humiliating discrimination because he is autistic" during his nearly 2½ years with the pol.
The discrimination was "perpetrated by Council Member Gentile and his senior staff, including (former chief of staff John) Mancuso," the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, charges.
Bistreich, for example, disclosed "he identified with and emotionally valued objects, including stuffed animals," the suit says.
After doing so, "Bistreich found mutilated stuffed animals at his desk, including teddy bears that were decapitated with one head mounted on a small flagpole, and a stuffed animal dog that was gutted and impaled and had red coloring around its slit stomach, mouth and eyes to resemble blood …"
The incident "was so distressing to Bistreich that he closed himself in the conference room for close to an hour," the suit alleges.
Someone later told Bistreich that Mancuso had planned on putting the mutilated stuffed animals on his desk and "actually had a ‘worse’ display prepared for Bistreich in the basement, which was taken down after Bistreich isolated himself in the conference room."
Once, Mancuso asked Bistreich to get something out of the office basement. "Bistreich was (then) locked in the dark basement for an extended period of time, which caused significant distress to Bistreich," the suit says.
Michael Bistreich says he kept the stuffed animals as a means of comfort.
An ex-Gentile staffer also compared Bistreich to Avonte Oquendo — an autistic student whose body was discovered in the East River several months after leaving his Queens school — at a press conference on a "Avonte’s Law."
The law requires alarms on school doors at elementary and special education schools selected by the NYPD and Department of Education.
The former staffer said Biestreich should "test the doors" — prompting Gentile to laugh and clap his hands, the suit claims.
The Bay Ridge councilman’s alleged discrimination intensified in 2016 after Bistreich received more responsibilities and what he described as a long-overdue raise of $6,000.
Gentile told Bistreich his "ticking" had gotten worse.
He said "We know your condition, but when you twitch like that it’s unnerving to people" and asked "Can you look into upping your medication?" the lawsuit claims.
Bistreich’s raise and legislative director title were taken away in June 2016 — and his job "became so filled with hostility and intimidation" he had to quit shortly thereafter, according to the lawsuit, filed by his lawyer, Brian Heller.
"I put my heart and soul into working there and doing my best on everything and it didn’t matter," Bistreich, 28, told the Daily News. "The only thing that mattered was what they felt about me for being different."
Gentile refused to comment extensively on the lawsuit when approached at City Hall.
"I haven’t seen it," Gentile said.
Asked about the decapitated teddy bears allegation, Gentile said "Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, I haven’t seen it, so unless I see it I won’t comment."
"Unfortunately I’m not allowed to comment on it," echoed Mancuso, who now works as the Sanitation Department’s deputy director of community affairs, when reached on his cellphone.
Animal rescuers slammed Mancuso in April 2014 for returning a dog to the shelter that he had adopted during his failed city council campaign — prompting many to accuse him of using the pup as a prop.