Thousands in Public Money Spent on Personal Expenses by Former Queens Library Staff

Published in WNYC.

Employees at the Queens Public Library spent over $300,000 in library funds on items like concert tickets, Apple TVs and extravagant meals, all while claiming the library was running a deficit, according to the city Comptroller’s Office.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer released a report today saying that former Queens Borough Public Library President Thomas Galante and other library executives hid funds from public scrutiny while they went on a spending spree.

“We identified hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenditures that should have never been made, whether it was drinking at casinos to expensive dinners,” Stringer said.

The report noted that while the executives were spending public funds on themselves, “the Library was eliminating services to the reading public, cutting operating hours of Queens branches by an average of four hours a week.”

A newly-constituted board of directors of the library fired Galante in December 2014 and voted to give the Comptroller’s Office full access to the library’s financial records.

Queens Library Board of Trustees Chair Carl Koerner said in a statement that “The current Board takes its duty to the public very seriously and expects management to do the same.” He said the library has instituted “sweeping reforms” and would focus on restoring the public’s trust.

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