By LOUIS FLORES
A federal lawsuit filed on Aug. 1 by six former Queens Library Trustees was dismissed by Judge Frederic Block of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, according to a statement issued by Borough President Melinda Katz (D-Queens) on Sunday.
“This lawsuit was a bitter attempt by the removed Trustees at personal retaliation devoid of consideration for the public interest,” Borough President Katz said, in part, in the statement, adding that, “The Court’s action underscores just how specious their claims were, and I am gratified this has finally been dismissed from official course of business."
Eight Trustees were removed from office following controversies reported by The New York Daily News, which raised questions about financial decisions approved by the Board of Trustees and by Thomas Galante, the board's former President and CEO. The removal of the Trustees was made possible by an emergency reform law passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-New York). Six of those trusteed sued Borough President Katz and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D-New York).
Former Queens Library President Galante and his supporters on the board had refused to share the library system's accounting information with authorities after a series of investigative reports published by The New York Daily News showed financial improprieties, triggering city and federal investigations, and drawing attention to a costly compensation package and a controversial $2 million golden parachute for former President Galante, amongst other questionable dealings, before the state reform law allowed Borough President Katz and Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) to dismiss Trustees, who were obstructing efforts at accountability and reform.
During the last year, the Queens Library has employed the lobbying firm of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP to lobby the Queens Borough President's Office and New York City Councilmembers on budget matters, according to online city lobbying records.