2008-12-26 / Top Stories

Rite-Aid Victim Says Company Broke Promise

Failed To Pay Medical Bills By Howard Schwach

A Rockaway woman, who claims that the store manager at the Rite-Aid pharmacy in Rockaway assaulted her on April 24, now says that the pharmacy giant promised to take care of her medical bills and then failed to do so.

Right after store manager Mahendra (Michael) Persaud was arrested for the assault two weeks later, the company promised Michelle McMahon, who had been injured in the assault, that it would take care of her medical bills, she says.

Now, however, after spending "a couple of thousand dollars" on an MRI and a skull series as well as on medication, McMahon says that the company has reneged.

"I don't know what to do," she told The Wave this week. "I have all these bills that I have to pay and this guy at corporate, Devon Long, said that he would take care of them, and now, nothing."

Persaud was arrested for assault in the third degree and issued a Desk Appearance Ticket that requires him to appear in court later this month to answer the charges, sources say.

His arrest arises from the April incident, in which Persaud allegedly punched Michelle McMahon in the face while he was trying to get to a fight in the parking lot that, eyewitnesses say, was precipitated by his workers.

McMahon told The Wave at the time that she was exiting the store when she saw the fight in the parking lot. She says that she was pushed from behind by Persaud and then punched in the face when she did not move away. She said that she approached Persaud and asked why he hit her, only to be berated and cursed at by the store manager.

McMahon's face was badly bruised in the incident and she was treated for her injures at a local hospital. The incident reportedly started with a staredown between a store employee and a customer. That disagreement spilled over into the parking lot, where several store employees, including a security guard, assaulted the customer and a relative.

Rockaway resident Regina Carey was also shopping at the store that day. She told The Wave that the store's security guard was screaming at a "kid" in the parking lot, when the manager came out of the store with five or six other employees. One was carrying a bat and another a pipe, Carey stated.

"The manager had no control over his workers," she said. "I saw a man get involved and the security guard pushed him. The man fell and hit his head against a metal pole. The manager pulled back the security guard after he pushed the man, but I could see that he was laughing. All I could think of was that the security guard should be fired for his total lack of self-control and the manager should get fired for his total lack of control over his workers. They were all out of control."

Ashley Flowers, a spokesperson for Rite-Aid, declined to comment for this article, citing the need for silence regarding a case still under litigation.

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