November 17, 2017

Ousted Queens Library Director Files $2 Million Suit

Former Queens Library (QL) president Thomas W. Galante filed a $2 million suit against his former employer on November 1. Galante, who was placed on administrative leave by the library board of trustees in September 2014 and fired in December for alleged misconduct and mismanagement of library funds, is claiming breach of employment, among other points.

Following Dismissal, Thomas Galante Sues Queens Library

Within 24 hours of being dismissed by the recently reconstituted Queens Library (QL) Board of Trustees on the evening of December 17, former QL President and CEO Thomas Galante announced via his lawyer Hillary Prudlo that he would sue for wrongful termination. The reorganized board had placed Galante on indefinite, paid administrative leave on September 11, citing an ongoing audit of QL’s finances by New York City comptroller Scott Stringer, and investigations by the city Department of Investigation (DOI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding construction contracts awarded by the library.

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit by Removed QL Trustees Who Sought Reinstatement

Bringing apparent closure to a months-long fight for control of the Queens Library (QL) Board of Trustees, Judge Frederic Block of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Wednesday November 26 dismissed Arrington et al v. Katz, a lawsuit filed in August by six former QL trustees against Queens Borough President (QBP) Melinda Katz and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Queens Library CEO Galante Placed on Administrative Leave

Thomas W. Galante, the embattled president and CEO of the Queens Library in New York, on the evening of September 11 was placed on indefinite, paid administrative leave by the library’s recently reorganized board, following months of negative local news coverage regarding his $392,000 salary, his consulting work, library renovation projects that included his office, and an FBI investigation regarding QL’s procedures for awarding construction contracts.

NYC Mayor Appoints First Replacement for Dismissed Queens Trustees

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on August 12 appointed Jukay Hsu, founder of the community development organization Coalition for Queens (C4Q), to the Queens Borough Public Library (QL) Board of Trustees. The appointment fills one of eight positions left vacant since July 23, when de Blasio dismissed two of the library’s trustees and Queens Borough President (QBP) Melinda Katz dismissed six.

Borough President, New York Mayor Granted New Powers over Queens Public Library

New legislation passed by the New York state House and Senate and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the Mayor of New York and Queens Borough President new authority to appoint and eliminate members of the Queens Public Library (QPL) Board of Trustees. The new law is sponsored by Queens State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry and authored in part by Borough President Melinda Katz. It is widely seen as a response to the fact that calls for more oversight and transparency from the board over questions about the compensation of QPL CEO Thomas Galante and his relationship with contractors doing construction work for the library have been largely ignored by the current board.

Queens Library Controversy Expands Into Construction Investigation

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and New York City’s Department of Investigation (DOI) have launched a joint investigation into Queens Library (QL) president and CEO Thomas Galante. The New York Daily News reports that on February 28, federal investigators arrived at the Central Library branch in Jamaica, Queens, NY. There they served subpoenas to Galante and Frank Marino, a construction consultant whose firm has managed 15 projects for QL since 2008—and who works at the Elmont Union Free School District, the same Long Island, NY, school system where Galante holds a part-time consulting position netting him compensation in the six figures.

Queens Public Library CEO’s Compensation in The Spotlight

The water surrounding Queens Public Library (QPL) President and CEO Thomas W. Galante just keeps getting hotter. In the weeks since the New York Daily News published a story detailing his $392,000 annual salary and the pricey renovations done to his office while QPL branches were suffering staff cuts, Galante has consistently denied any wrongdoing, even while other city officials call on him to step down from the post he has held since 2005.