New York State Employee Arrested For Selling Historic Documents On eBay

Jan 28, 2008 (01:01 PM EST)

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An employee of the New York State Department of Education has been arrested on suspicion of stealing hundreds of historic documents and artifacts from the New York State Library and attempting to sell them on eBay and elsewhere.

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced the arrest of Daniel D. Lorello, 54, and charged him with three felonies, third-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, and first-degree scheme to defraud.

"These irreplaceable documents are the property of all New Yorkers," Cuomo said in a statement. "Public employees with access to records of New York state's vibrant history are trusted curators who must not abuse their power for personal gain."

The complaint asserts that Lorello attempted to sell several items belonging to the New York State Library on eBay, including a four-page letter that John C. Calhoun, vice president of the United States under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, wrote in 1823 to a New York general.

Joseph Romito, a Virginia attorney and former teacher, brought the auction of the Calhoun letter to the attention of state authorities. The auction generated bids exceeding $1,700, according to the statement issued by Cuomo.

State investigators are in the process of recovering hundreds documents that eventually will be returned to the State Library. Among the library's other documents are a set of autographs of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, manuscripts from the original draft of George Washington's farewell address, an original first draft of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, and numerous books and memorabilia regarding Theodore Roosevelt.