Queens Museum Report Says Former Director ‘Misled the Board’

Queens Museum Report Says Former Director ‘Misled the Board’


The report, however, suggests that Ms. Raicovich was asked to resign specifically because of actions surrounding the Israel incident. Last summer, the museum appeared to cancel and then, after accusations of anti-Semitism, reinstate an event sponsored by the Israeli government. Councilman Rory I. Lancman accused Ms. Raicovich of anti-Semitism and called for her removal.

The Israel event — to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations vote establishing the State of Israel — took place at the museum in November and featured Vice President Mike Pence.

Ms. Raicovich had said that the board’s decision regarding the Israel event simply had to do with the museum’s policies on renting out its space. Kristian Nammack, a trustee at the museum, resigned last month, citing his disappointment with the board’s decision to allow the event.

But the report said that Ms. Raicovich “showed immediate hostility to hosting the event at the museum even before consulting with the board and then, together with Mr. Strauss, sought reasons why the board should not agree to the event.”

Ms. Raicovich said she was only concerned about “operations and security issues” surrounding the event, and that she viewed Mr. Pence’s involvement as “problematic for the museum.”

The report also discusses a 2017 book, “Assuming Boycott,” that Ms. Raicovich edited with Kareem Estefan and Carin Kuoni. It includes essays strongly supportive of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, known as B.D.S., which is highly critical of the State of Israel.

“Ms. Raicovich did not disclose her involvement in the book to the board,” the report said, “even though (1) the book prominently identifies her as director of the museum, (2) the foreword she co-wrote states that the goals discussed in the book are ‘complemented by programs, exhibitions and educational initiatives’ at the museum, (3) she paid one of the co-editors for his work on the book with museum funds, (4) she placed the book for sale in the museum’s gift shop.”

Ms. Raicovich said she had viewed the payment, $4,000 to Mr. Estefan, as appropriate, given the book’s focus on artists, and had reimbursed the museum after the issue was raised with her. The museum said it received this payment on Tuesday.

In response to the report’s findings, Councilman Lancman said in a telephone interview: “The leader of this museum is supposed to represent the values of Queens but also represent to the world our values. This is just a breathtaking breach of that responsibility.”



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