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UN investigator files lawsuit claiming defamation and retaliatory actions in workplace

A veteran investigator for the United Nations' internal affairs bureau has filed a lawsuit against his supervisor, claiming he was defamed, falsely accused of crimes and subject to discipline, all in retaliation for charging his boss with misconduct.

Peter A. Gallo, who has worked for the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services since March 2011, seeks $6.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages through a lawsuit filed last month in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

The oversight office is an investigative arm of the UN secretary-general that helps fulfill "internal oversight responsibilities in respect of the resources and staff of the Organization through monitoring, internal audit, inspection, evaluation and investigation," according to a description on the UN's website.

It probes fraud and misconduct within the UN agencies and "has the authority to initiate, carry out and report on any action it considers necessary to fulfill its responsibilities with regard to its oversight functions."

Gallo, a 20-year veteran money laundering and fraud investigator, claimed he was the victim of continual harassment from his superior, Roberta Baldini, a 10-year UN employee who had worked for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the UN Mission in Kosovo before joining in March 2009 the oversight office in Manhattan.

Baldini, who is currently the chief of section in the oversight office, has also served as an assistant district attorney in the Bronx.

The lawsuit claims Baldini falsely told the UN's Special Investigations Unit that on Jan. 23, Gallo walked "toward her in such a manner as to put her in a state of fear that plaintiff would have walked into her if she had not moved out of the way."

The lawsuit also claims that Baldini made a further accusation a month later that Gallo came to the Manhattan office with a gun.

Baldini's statements are "absolutely, completely and in every respect materially and knowingly false," read the lawsuit, adding that they were "intended by defendant to expose plaintiff to public contempt, ridicule, aversion, disgrace and/or to induce an evil opinion of him in the minds of right-thinking persons and to deprive him of his friendly interaction in society."

Those allegations, Gallo said, came after a series of retaliatory actions taken against Gallo after he claimed Baldini in March 2013 had engaged in misconduct including abuse of authority and harassment.

He made those claims, Gallo said, because Baldini had placed him on an onerous Performance Improvement Plan in February 2013 after giving him an unfavorable annual performance evaluation.

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