BOROUGH PRESIDENT KATZ DENIES THE APPEALS OF FORMER QUEENS LIBRARY TRUSTEES AND ISSUES RESPONSE TO ARGUMENTS RAISED IN THEIR LAWSUIT

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In an effort to prevent further disruptions from interfering with the business of running the Queens Library, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz today announced she has denied the appeals of the six Trustees she removed from the Queens Library Board and has submitted a response in opposition to the lawsuit they filed seeking to be reinstated to their positions on the Board.

The Borough President’s response to the lawsuit filed in federal district court for the Eastern District of New York strongly rebuts the plaintiffs’ claims that the state law authorizing the Borough President to remove the Trustees is unconstitutional.

“The former Trustees are making a federal case out of something that is very simple,” Borough President Katz said. “Their removals were clearly authorized by the state law that was enacted in June with nearly unanimous support in the Legislature. They are therefore forced to rely on the extraordinarily weak argument that their removal was somehow unconstitutional.  You can’t make a federal case out of disappointment. ”

The Borough President removed the six Trustees as a last resort after they repeatedly supported Queens Library President and CEO Thomas Galante’s refusal to provide the Borough President and other City officials and investigative entities with budget and financial information they have requested and are entitled to. The ousted Trustees also consistently supported Mr. Galante in his efforts to conceal contract information regarding the renovation of the Central Library and his refusal to provide information regarding his compensation package and his outside employment as a consultant for the Elmont School District.

“These Trustees have no constitutional right to be on the Board,” Borough President Katz said. “I believe the Court will agree that there has been no harm done to these six individuals and that their potential return to the Board would be completely disruptive because they would continue to block attempts by City agencies, investigative entities and their fellow Trustees to get full access to important information about how public tax dollars are being spent by the Library, which gets 85 percent of its funding from the City of New York.”

“My only goals are to make sure the management of the Queens Library, one of our borough’s most treasured institutions, is placed back on a proper path of transparency and good governance and that the Library fully cooperates with all relevant investigations,” the Borough President added.

A hearing on the former Trustees’ application for a temporary restraining order will be held Monday at 2 p.m. before Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf in United States District Court in Brooklyn.

 
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