“In a sweeping critique of past spending and accounting practices at the Queens Library, a city audit released on Wednesday detailed more than $310,000 in prohibited expenses by the former president of the system, Thomas W. Galante, and by other executives. More than $100,000 of these expenses, officials contended, could amount to fraud and embezzlement. Among the abuses, library executives used library funds to pay for “extravagant meals,” alcohol, tickets to a Maroon 5 rock concert, admission to Disneyland, airline upgrades, Apple TVs, a smoking balcony off the president’s office and smokeless ashtrays — all while maintaining that the library system was running a deficit, said Scott M. Stringer, the New York City comptroller, whose office conducted the audit and a related inquiry into possible misconduct.” (Via NYT)
EXCLUSIVE: NYC City Controller Scott Stringer urges DA, IRS to probe financial abuse at Queens Library
Financial abuse at Queens Library was so out of control that city Controller Scott Stringer is urging the IRS and local prosecutors to launch criminal probes against both Thomas Galante, the library’s ousted president, and his successor, Bridget Quinn-Carey, the Daily News has learned. Stringer’s 18-month audit of the library has concluded that Galante and Quinn-Carey, the library’s former chief operating officer and now interim president, racked up more than $310,000 in prohibited personal expenses on their library credit cards over a three-year period ending June 30, 2014.” (Via The Daily News)
“The musical void left by the reported closure of the New York’s last classical sheet music store is being filled by the Queens Library. The institution has built the city’s largest collection of music scores that’s available to check out — a compilation that’s gained importance since the Frank Music Company, on West 54th St. between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, closed earlier this month.” (via DNAinfo.com New York)
“Better late than never. A long-delayed Queens library is finally getting off the ground, with construction set to begin in the next few weeks, officials will announce Thursday.
Workers have begun sampling the soil around the future site of the Queens Library’s Hunters Point branch, which will be the system’s first newly built branch in more than 20 years. The project has been delayed — and some of its vaunted green design elements scaled down — as officials struggled to come up with the money to build it and plans were simplified to keep the budget from ballooning.” (via NY Daily News)
“Disgraced former Queens Library president Thomas Galante says he’ll sue the library’s board for firing him over allegations that he abused a library credit card to make personal purchases.The library’s trustees — including board members appointed recently by Mayor de Blasio and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz — unanimously voted Wednesday night to terminate Galante’s employment. He made $392,000 a year.On Thursday Galante’s lawyer, Hillary Prudlo, told the Daily News: “The library breached the employment agreement, and we will see them in court.” (via NY Daily News)
“The board of the Queens Public Library closed the book on lavish spender Thomas Galante Wednesday night. Galante, 54, was fired from his roles as CEO and president after the board met to vote on his fate. His dismissal came after the trustees reviewed his expense accounts, which included opulent meals, expensive concert tickets and high-priced furniture.” (via NY Daily News.
“Queens Library Director Thomas Galante could be fired next week, following a review by the library’s new trustees into his wild spending of tax-payer money on lavish meals, expensive concert tickets, and high-priced furniture. Records obtained by the Daily News show Galante spent more than $40,000 on food, alcohol and entertainment at restaurants across the country; casinos; bowling alleys; billiard halls, and liquor stores during 2013 — all of it charged to his library corporate credit card.” (via NY Daily News)
“A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit brought against Borough President Melinda Katz by six former Queens Library trustees who had sought to have their dismissals overturned by the court, Katz announced Sunday. The six were members of a faction that had shielded now-suspended library President and CEO Tom Galante from attempts by a minority of the board to put him on leave while investigations into alleged financial mismanagement played out, and that had refused to provide City Comptroller Scott Stringer with all the documents he sought for an audit of the system.” (via Queens Chronicle)
“The embattled Queens Library is hiring 50 more staffers and ending its use of private cleaning crews, its temporary new leader announced last week. “Queens Library staff are the best in the world,” said Bridget Quinn-Carey, the library’s interim president and CEO. “Their ranks have been thin these last few years, and that has been hard on everyone,” she said. Mayor de Blasio and the City Council boosted library funding by $2.8 million, allowing the institution to lift a hiring freeze it instated in 2008, Carey said. At least 19 new full-time librarians and clerks have already been brought on board.” (via NY Daily News)
“After Queens library boss Tom Galante was revealed to be blowing library cash on perks for himself and his cronies, legislation will be introduced in the City Council Wednesday to force city libraries to open their books. The bills, sponsored by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens), would require public annual reports detailing all library capital spending, including details of construction projects and which contractors got the cash. Library honchos would also have to financial disclosure statements with the Conflicts of Interest Board, disclosing their outside income and other details like pols and city officials have to do.” (via NY Daily News)