NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A subway signal maintenance worker turned himself in and was arraigned Thursday after being accused of tampering with public records and official misconduct.
Ilya Klyauzov, who worked on the number 7 line, pleaded not guilty and declared confidently outside the courthouse that he will be cleared.
“I’m the best, I’ve never made anything wrong, all the time I was working hard,” Klyauzov said. “I always do my job, in a perfect way.”
1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria with Ilya Klyauzov outside the courthouse
Klyauzov is accused of faking signal inspections, filing bogus reports, instructing other workers not to complete their assigned work and violating MTA policy by keeping records in his locker. He is the first to be charged in a massive scandal in which hundreds of workers were accused of falsifying safety records.
Klyauzov’s attorney said that these allegations would normally be handled administratively, not criminally.
“Everyone acknowledges that there was some serious problem and why the first person arrested is some low-level signal maintainer is rather astounding,” attorney Arthur Schwartz said. “I think it’s designed to throw off attention from those in the authority management who are responsible for what went on.”
Klyauzov said he has a master’s degree in engineering from Russia and has no reason to falsify documents.
Last November, the MTA released a report revealing incomplete safety checks on the subway.
The MTA report said there had been a rush to get crucial safety checks done on the subway, but investigators said the reports were either made up, delayed or skipped altogether.
The report found that inspectors had falsified thousands of subway signal inspections, which are critical safety checks designed to protect straphangers from train derailments and collisions.
Transit President Tom Prendergast testified that over 90 percent of the signal inspectors have routinely falsified reports over the last decade.
The report said a dramatic increase in safety checks following the 2009 rear-end train collision in the Washington, D.C. subway system simply overwhelmed the inspectors.
The D.C. collision killed nine people.
Falsifying an MTA report is a felony offense.