NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A big boss with the Metropolitan Transit Authority was demoted and had his salary slashed after he allegedly borrowed a transit generator following Superstorm Sandy.
When the storm hit, most people in the Levittown area were in the dark for up to two weeks, but not Gregory Lombardi, the rising executive in the MTA who allegedly pulled off a power play.
Lombardi allegedly towed home a NYC Transit division generator — which rents for $800 to $2,100 per week — and hooked it up to his house until the Long Island Power Authority restored power.
“Well he borrowed a generator and gave it back. I mean, would you have a problem with that?” neighbor Rich DiLorenzo said.
“To trash the guy and ruin his career for one little mistake, give him a break,” Maria DiLorenzo said.
The two remember the towering oak on Lombardi’s driveway that came crashing down during Sandy, ripping down electric lines and toppling a power pole.
However, others in the neighborhood had harsh words for Lombardi’s alleged actions.
“It is typical of a person in a position of power and taking advantage of the taxpayer,” said Levittown homeowner Jeannie Shipman.
When Lombardi was promoted to MTA assistant chief mechanical officer in 2007, he pledged both honesty and integrity to the public.
“I hate to quote Harry Truman, but I guess the buck stops with us and the accountability rests on us as well,” Lombardi said at the time.
Those words may now be coming back to haunt Lombardi, as he was recently demoted to a lower level supervisory position with a dramatic pay cut as punishment.
“I was completely outraged when I heard about it. No one should take advantage of government like that,” said former MTA chief and New York City mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota.
Lhota told CBS 2 the MTA slashed Lombardi’s salary from $165,000 a year to $83,000 a year.
Lombardi is respected among his neighbors, who pointed out he grew up with the MTA. His dad was once the senior vice president of the entire subway system.
Two transit workers who allegedly helped Lombardi load and drive the generator, were also disciplined.
CBS 2 reached out to Lombardi but did not get an immediate response.
Do you think Lombardi’s punishment for his alleged crimes was too stiff, too lenient or just right? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …