MTA inspector general investigates employee for insider bidding on contracts

An MTA employee was found in violation of ethics guidelines by meddling in the public procurement process for para-transit service by the agency.
Courtesy of the MTA/Flickr

A former New York City Transit employee is no longer with the agency after an investigation found that Alexander Elegudin had been meddling in the procurement process, according to the MTA’s Office of the Inspector General.

In a multi-million dollar bidding process to contract out para-transit to commuters with disabilities, Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny found that Elegudin had fed private discourse to Curb Mobility informing the company’s vice president, Jason Gross, that their prices were too high.

“Giving an unfair advantage to anyone in the public procurement process is wrong, but it is especially egregious for an MTA executive and vendor to do so, in a way that potentially jeopardizes a critical paratransit initiative,” Pokorny said. “This Senior Advisor knew he was breaking agency and New York State ethics policy by disclosing confidential information and trying to devise a way for a vendor, with whom he’d had a long-term relationship with, to get a second bite at the apple. NYC Transit’s finding that the vendor was non-responsible, resulting in its exclusion from future MTA projects, sends a strong message to all vendors not to play games with the MTA.”

Although the vendor was not held responsible, which was determined following a hearing on the matter, Elegudin’s case was referred to the inspector general by the MTA to confirm their suspicions once he allegedly attempted in August 2020 to persuade New York City Transit to allow Curb Mobility and other contractors vying for three to five-year contracts at $579 million.

The inspector general found that Elegudin had been informed by a member of the selection committee that Curb Mobility would not be getting the contract, and allegedly texted the Gross about adjusting the cost before urging the submission process to open up again.

This member was simply described by Pokorny’s office as a “subordinate” to Elegudin and has been “counseled.”

“NYC Transit takes very seriously the integrity of the procurement process – which is why this was referred to the Inspector General immediately upon learning of the matter. Mr. Elegudin is no longer with the MTA,” Meredith Daniels, an MTA spokesperson, said.

According to the MTA OIG, the agency suffered no financial loss from the misconduct, however, the bidding process started all over again in Decemeber 2020 for unrelated reasons. The agency did not dispute the findings from Pokorny’s office.

Elegudin resigned from his post at New York City Transit in autumn of 2020 after only about two years on the job.

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