BY JOE MARVILLI
A lawsuit filed by former Trustees of the Queens Library against Borough President Melinda Katz has been tossed out.
Judge Frederic Block of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed the lawsuit from the six former Trustees that Katz removed from their posts over the summer. The suit aimed to restore the board members to their positions, calling their removal part of a “brazen, and unconstitutional, power grab…to transform the Queens Borough Public Library into an organ of City Government controlled by the Queens Borough President and Mayor.”
Former board chairman Joseph Ficalora, as well as former Trustees Jacqueline Arrington, William Jefferson, Grace Lawrence, Terri Mangino and George Stamatiades, filed the suit. Katz removed these members in July, stating they had failed to oversee the finances of the Queens Library.
Katz praised Block’s decision to throw out the suit, which she labeled as baseless.
“This lawsuit was a bitter attempt by the removed Trustees at personal retaliation devoid of consideration for the public interest,” Katz said. “The Court’s action underscores just how specious their claims were.”
The dismissal of the lawsuit is the latest move in what has been a year of controversy for the Queens Library. In response to the problems involving then-CEO Thomas Galante’s salary and spending practices, the State passed legislation that gave the BP and Mayor Bill de Blasio the ability to remove Trustees that they appoint.
From the summer and into the fall, Katz and de Blasio appointed several new Trustees, who took steps to increase the library’s transparency and accountability. The new board agreed to Stringer’s audit, selected Bridget Quinn-Carey as the Interim President and CEO and re-hired 19 full-time union custodian employees that had been replaced with contract cleaners.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.