An ex-professor at Brooklyn College is locked in a legal battle with his former employer, accusing CUNY of mishandling decades of his black history research while investigating his finances.

The New York Daily News reports that Professor Joseph Wilson's years of critical research on black history, which includes key papers, lectures, and other materials, are valued between $12 million and $14 million. In a 2017 court filing to the Eastern district of New York, Wilson alleged that the university had kept his seized property out in the open, and that "documents, files, and his other personal and business property were missing."

Wilson, a former professor at Brooklyn College's Political Science department and the director of its Graduate Center for Worker Education, is a renowned authority on labor history. In 2012, CUNY began investigating Wilson, alleging that he had mishandled funds, including grant money, and "unjustly enriched" himself with roughly $100,000. They fired him in 2016.

Wilson denied the claims, saying that both administrators and fellow department members made false claims against him so that the university could force him out. Following his dismissal, Wilson filed a suit against CUNY stating that he was wrongfully terminated. In it, he claims that the university "conducted a warrantless search and seizure" of his office in 2012, which included "thousands of books, volumes of his personal and business files, research notes, students' papers, pictures, video and audio tapes, artwork, political campaign and other memorabilia collected over thirty years." Additionally, Wilson says that he was never given the chance to retrieve said items.

Now, several city officials are requesting more details about the case and the dozens of research materials Wilson says that CUNY tossed out, including City Councilmember Inez Barron and newly-minted Public Advocate elect Jumaane Williams, who was once a student of his. The Daily News notes that Williams' graduate thesis is one of the lost research materials. "Proper protocols were not followed and I want to know why,” Barron told the paper.

Wilson is suing for unspecified damages, and wants CUNY to either pay for the materials or give them back.

"CUNY strongly denies the allegations made by Dr. Wilson," a university spokesperson tells Gothamist over email. "They are baseless and we look forward to the resolution of this lawsuit." We've reached out to Wilson's attorney and will update when we hear back.