The MTA’s overtime abuse scandal has taken a lecherous turn as of late with the agency’s watchdog issuing a report claiming that one Metro-North employee snuck a woman onto railroad property for “kissing and intimate contact” while a New York City Transit workers abused the Family Medical Leave Act to gamble in Atlantic City.
The two have since been terminated following an investigation by MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny’s office.
“All bets are off for these unscrupulous former MTA employees,” Pokorny said. “Intentionally falsifying time sheets is stealing and can result in termination – whether it is using sick/medical leave to gamble in Atlantic City or using overtime for an intimate rendezvous or 2+ hour lunches. New York’s taxpayers and riders should not have to ante up for such bad behavior.”
The Metro-North machinist wasn’t only found in violation of overtime and bringing a friend to work, he was also accused of misusing an MTA vehicle on dozens of occasions and taking lunch breaks that exceeded two hours. The OIG recommended the MTA punish the man as they see fit, but that the his supervisor should also be advised on how best to oversee vehicle logs.
“Metro-North has zero tolerance for theft of time or appropriation of resources for personal use,” MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said of the Metro-North case. “This employee was suspended without pay and subsequently resigned, and we are reviewing ways to improve accountability.”
Surveillance footage showed the machinist allowing the woman to bring her Pathfinder into Metro North Harmon East Yard Maintenance of Way Storage Facility located off the Senasqua Road service road in Croton on Harmon, where only authorized vehicles and personnel are allowed on multiple occasions in 2020.
The OIG also recommended that the New York City Transit traffic checker who spent his family medical leave and sick time to gamble in Atlantic City be force to return pay received through apparently fraudulent means.
His scheme had been taking place since 2017 when he began taking intermittent time off through the FMLA claiming that a serious health condition prevented him from performing his duties. For at least some of the 70 days the employee was taking time off under the guise of health concerns, records pulled from the Tropicana Resort and Casino by the OIG found that the man may not have been as sick as he made out.
“This employee didn’t just gamble in a casino while calling out sick,” NYC Transit spokesman Shams Tarek said. “He gambled with his job. This was a clear violation of the public trust, which is why when we learned about it we acted quickly and he was terminated through our grievance and arbitration process.”
The Traffic checker told the OIG’s office that he was on medication that resulted in gastrointestinal bouts for two to three hours at times and his condition was not elaborated upon.