Former Mass. film chief sues over his dismissal

By Todd Wallack
Globe Staff / February 26, 2011

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The Patrick administration’s shakeup of independent agencies was challenged this week when one ousted executive claimed he was improperly fired.

Nicholas A. Paleologos filed suit in Suffolk Superior Court Thursday, contending that Patrick’s economic development secretary did not have the authority to remove him as director of the Massachusetts Film Office as part of a reorganization last fall. Paleologos’ suit said the aide, Gregory Bialecki, bypassed the board of the Massachusetts Marketing Partnership, the state agency underneath Bialecki that now oversees the film office.

“You have to have a hearing on it,’’ said George A. McLaughlin III, the attorney for Paleologos.

Paleologos, who earned $103,000 a year, was not offered severance or a reason for his dismissal, McLaughlin said.

A spokeswoman for Bialecki, Kimberly Haberlin, said Paleologos’s dismissal was “in accordance with the statute’’ reorganizing the state’s marketing agencies, including the film office, within the executive branch. The film office was previously part of an independent, quasi-public agency.

Paleologos was one of a series of executives the Patrick administration forced out after the Legislature increased his control over the film office and other outside agencies.

Paleologos, a former state representative and film producer, helped oversee a surge in movie making in Massachusetts after the state boosted Hollywood incentives.

Several movies that were made in Massachusetts during Paleologos’s tenure, including “The Social Network,’’ “The Town,’’ and “The Fighter,’’ are up for Oscars on Sunday.