There are substantial reasons to doubt that the Queens Library has yet turned the corner on the use of taxpayer monies or that the public can have full confidence in the Library Board to make decisions in the best public interest without continued close monitoring by the appropriate authority outside the Library bureaucracy.
What has the Library done to recoup and recover monies the Comptroller characterized as embezzled by its two top executives?
Virtually nothing. Worse than that, the Library now refers to the Comptroller’s findings of a “sickening track record of waste, fraud and abuse” as “allegations,” particularly with respect to the approximately $50,000 the Comptroller says was spent by current Acting CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey on personal items, not authorized, in violation of policy, for which she may owe taxes. Here’s what the Library Board has to say regarding the Quinn-Carey expenses:
“On July 23, 2015, the Queens Library Board met in executive session to hear the preliminary findings of our general counsel regarding the Comptroller’s investigation as they relate to Interim President and CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey. The credit card charges highlighted by the Comptroller relative to Ms. Quinn-Carey are predominantly purchases of goods and services for Library business. Some of the charges continue to be reviewed. The Board will wait for the full review before taking further action. Since the date of these charges this Board has imposed even greater standards for incurring and documenting purchases for all employees.”
A Library spokesperson said that the General Counsel who reviewed Quinn-Carey’s expenditures was Lewis Finkelman, who was hired by Ms. Quinn-Carey.
The precise date of his hire was not made available and there was no public announcement of his hire. Finkelman’s identification as General Counsel does not appear on the Library website (unlike in the past when the General Counsel was identified).
There is an internal staff announcement of his hire dated July 20, 2015. The Library spokesperson said that Mr. Finkelman reports to Ms. Quinn-Carey as the Acting Chief Executive Officer.
More detailed information was not provided by the Queens Library after repeated question.