New York – Cancer-stricken Ground Zero worker Edgar Galvis has finally received a compensation check -- for zero dollars, the New York Post reported Sunday.
The 51-year-old Queens man, who suffered sinus problems and then throat cancer after months of removing toxic debris from the World Financial Center, was relieved to get a check in the mail for his court settlement with Merrill Lynch, whose offices he had cleaned.
But he was stunned when he saw the amount: $0.00.
His award had been $10,005, but his lawyers at the firm Worby, Groner, Edelman & Napoli Bern lopped off $2,579 for unitemized legal expenses. Then they took a 33.3 percent fee of $2,124. They also subtracted $352, a fee to the lawyer who referred him.
The remaining $4,950 was withheld for unspecified "liens," the letter says. Galvis thinks this was repayment of workers' compensation for aid.
"I have hit rock bottom," said Galvis, who is jobless and $30,000 in debt. "I was expecting a check, and you can imagine how I felt when I opened it. I couldn't believe it. I thought it was a joke."
The father of two, who lives in Glendale with his fiancee and her two kids, said he had to sell his car and relies on relatives for rent. "I get collection agencies whenever I open the mail. What little credit I had I don't have anymore," he said.