NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is stunning new evidence of Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees behaving badly.
A backlog of reports released by the inspector general show troubling instances of fraud, overtime abuse and conflicts of interest, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.
They wanted to blow their horn about the best on-time subway performance in six years. Instead, MTA officials had to respond to a mind-blowing batch of investigations documenting numerous instances of corrupt and bad behavior.
For example, top MTA cop Thomas Odessa, an assistant chief, is accused of improperly using his police cruiser to get to a second job at funeral home.
* A subway signal maintainer who took 140 days off in one year, claiming to care for a sick father, instead got married, went on a European honeymoon that took him to London, Barcelona and Monaco, and coached a baseball team.
* A transit elevator repairman improperly used paid and unpaid sick leave to work as a New York City elevator inspector.
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And on and on and on. Dozens of reports of impropriety were suddenly released by the MTA’s new inspector general, Carolyn Pokorny, as part of a new transparency program initiated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in part to show riders there’s a new era of accountability at the troubled agency, and that it can be trusted with the billions of dollars expected to be generated by congestion pricing.
And even though several of the employees were able to retire with fat pensions, MTA Chairman Pat Foye insisted some could face criminal charges.
When asked if the agency is trying to convince people going forward that when it gets the money from congestion pricing it is going to spend it wisely, Foye said, “No, that’s not why we’re doing it. We’re doing it because the conduct is reprehensible. It’s appalling. It violates the core values of this agency and this administration.”
Riders are skeptical of the agency.
“I absolutely don’t think the MTA will spend the money wisely at all,” Upper East Side resident Rob Austrian said. “It’s really embarrassing. Where does it go? It’s a money pit.”
“It can be done, but whose overseeing this money? It’s a lot of money,” added Sabrina Edwards-Colter of Brownsville, Brooklyn.
“I think government doesn’t spend money very wisely. I think a lot of it is wasted, unfortunately,” South Salem resident Mark Richman said.
A big issue is why so many of the people caught by the inspector general were allowed to retired with fat pensions. Foye kicked the can down the road to the Legislature, saying it has to change the laws.