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Woman’s job in limbo after claiming ties to Governor in altercation with flight attendant


ALBANY – A state worker’s $95,000-a-year job was in limbo Monday as a video of her threatening the job of a flight attendant – and citing her ties to Gov. Cuomo – exploded across the internet.

State officials said Susan Peirez will remain suspended from her job as program director at the State Council on the Arts while they investigate her actions on the Delta Air Lines flight from JFK to Syracuse on Feb. 6.

“State employees are and must be held to the highest standard both professionally and personally,” Ronni Reich, director of public information for the Arts Council, said in a statement.

“This employee has been removed from the office and placed on leave until further notice and until the inquiry is resolved.”

Nearly 2 million people have viewed the video of Peirez berating the flight attendant named Tabitha about being seated next to a baby.

“I’m not sitting by a crying baby,” she said.

At one point, Peirez, a 53-year-old Great Neck resident, mentioned that she works for the governor and tells the flight attendant that “you may not have a job tomorrow.”

Unfazed by the threat, the flight attendant responds, “I want this lady off the plane.”

The video was shot by the baby’s mother, 19-year-old Marissa Rundell, who was traveling to her home in upstate New York.

Rundell told the business publication Inc. that she posted the video on Facebook so her family could see Peirez’s behavior and did not intend for it to become an internet sensation.

“I kind of feel bad for this lady,” Rundell told Inc. “I don’t know her story, she doesn’t know mine. It might have been a misunderstanding.”

Peirez could not be reached for comment.

Delta, in a statement, stood by its flight attendant.

“We ask that customers embrace civility and respect one another when flying Delta,” the airline said. “This customer’s behavior toward a fellow customer on a flight from New York to Syracuse was not in keeping with those standards. We appreciate our Endeavor Air flight attendant’s commitment to Delta’s core values and apologize to the other customers on board Flight 4017 who experienced the disturbance.”


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