A retired NYPD detective who served as a volunteer with Long Island’s LGBT Network has filed a defamation lawsuit that accuses the organization and its chief executive officer of scheming to malign him online.
Thomas Verni is seeking $5 million in damages, saying he was falsely branded “a child molester and pedophile,” according to the suit.
LGBT Network officials deny any responsibility, saying an employee who was later fired acted alone and without the group’s knowledge to post blogs and tweets containing the false information.
The case is scheduled to go to trial next month in Nassau County Supreme Court.
The network, president and CEO David Kilmnick and former employee Adam Lombardi are named as defendants.
The suit, filed last September, accuses the LGBT Network of launching a smear campaign against Verni in July 2016 that included sending false information to New York City Council members and Fox News.
At the time, Verni was appearing occasionally on CNN and Fox News, addressing policy issues involving gays and police, according to the suit.
The suit alleges that the online attack occurred after Verni, in 2015, told a group of former LGBT Network employees and network board members that Kilmnick was treating employees unfairly. Verni left the organization shortly after, according to his attorney, Anthony Colleluori of Mineola.
LGBT board member Resi Cooper, speaking on behalf of Kilmnick and the organization, said an employee was responsible for the offensive posts, made on a personal computer.
“A former employee posted the blog without any authority and independent of LGBT membership and leadership,” Cooper said.
Cooper said the employee, whom she did not name, was fired.
The suit accuses Lombardi, of Queens, of spreading the offensive content online. Lombardi, reached Thursday, declined to comment.