Thomas Galante, who served as the library's president and CEO for more than a decade, was fired in Dec. 2014, after the Board of Trustees reviewed his spending.
An audit of his company credit card charges ordered by Comptroller Scott Stringer revealed that Galante, who was making $392,000 a year, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on everything from expensive meals, booze and Maroon 5 concert tickets to “a bottle of water at Duane Reade and a cup of coffee and a doughnut at Dunkin’ Donuts," according to the report.
He also spent $27,000 to build a smoking deck next to his former office and took side work as a consultant for a school district on Long Island, making an additional $150,000 a year from that job.
In the complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, the library is demanding that Galante pay back more than $200,000 in "questionable expenses" from 2009 to 2014, as well as $260,000 the institution had to pay in various legal fees related to defending him, as first reported by the Daily News.
Last year, Galante filed a lawsuit against the library, suing it for his more than $2 million severance package, claiming that his firing was politically motivated and that “there was an orchestrated campaign to unjustly remove him from his position,” his lawyer Tom Rohback said in an email Tuesday.
Rohback also said that “the Library’s counterclaim is premised on issues that have already been addressed in Mr. Galante’s complaint.”
“We will refute every allegation the Library makes, and we look forward to presenting the true facts and setting the record straight in open court,” Rohback added.
The library declined to comment on Tuesday.