MTA OIG: Construction Investigation Unearths Ethical Breaches and Nepotism
MTA OIG Construction Investigation Unearths Ethical Breaches and Nepotism
Nephew of MTA Construction and Development Manager secured job as a Safety Supervisor on Project Overseen by the Manager, Despite the Nephew Having No Prior Construction Safety Experience
Brother of the Manager also Secured Employment at a Construction Company Responsible for a $3.9 million Roof Repair project at the Fresh Pond Bus Depot, Overseen by the Manager
NEW YORK – MTA Inspector General Daniel G. Cort today released three reports related to a single, year-long investigation that uncovered serious ethical breaches and nepotism within MTA Construction and Development (C&D). The MTA terminated a 34-year MTA veteran who served as an Assistant Vice President/Deputy Executive for Capital Programs (the C&D Manager), after it was revealed that he oversaw the work of contractors that employed his family members. Those family members were employed on $18 million worth of contracts he supervised.
“Conflicts and nepotism are serious problems with real consequences,” said MTA Inspector General, Daniel G. Cort. “In this case, unqualified employees and other contractual violations exposed workers to potentially dangerous conditions. The MTA correctly held the former C&D Manager and the contractor accountable for their ethical and contractual lapses.”
The C&D Manager’s nephew, who had no prior construction experience, was employed as the site safety supervisor, for which he lacked the minimum requirements, on a $14.6 million faade renovation contract. This contract was plagued with problems, including the contractor’s failure to provide a full-time exclusive project manager and a variety of safety problems. Additionally, the C&D Manager’s brother was employed by a different construction company that assigned the brother to various MTA Bus construction projects, including a $3.9 million roof repair contract at the Fresh Pond bus depot, overseen by the C&D Manager.
Further, both the C&D Manager and a second brother employed as an MTA Bus Maintainer, refused to cooperate with the OIG’s investigation. New York City Transit sought to terminate the second brother, but he was reinstated and received a 20-day suspension after an arbitration hearing.
The investigation found that the C&D Manager failed to disclose these glaring conflicts of interest to the MTA, creating an environment where nepotism, contract violations, and unqualified workers were ignored, compromising the safety of the job sites and the integrity of the agency.
The investigations further revealed that the C&D Manager, who oversaw all the contracts in question, did not seek ethical guidance or recuse himself from overseeing projects involving his family members.
Finally, one of the contractors, Construction Company 1, was found to have breached its contractual warranties and violated the MTA Vendor Code of Ethics by employing the C&D Manager’s nephew who was unqualified for his position. It also breached its contract by failing to provide a full-time, exclusive Project Manager. These findings emphasize the need for strict adherence to ethical guidelines and contract specifications in vendor relationships.
MTA C&D accepted all of MTA OIG’s recommendations related to this investigation. The Manager was terminated, one of his brothers was suspended, and his nephew was terminated by the vendor. The MTA recovered more than $170,000 from Construction Company 1 for contract violations.
The MTA Inspector General encourages all members of the public to reach out with complaints, tips, or to report fraud via the Office’s confidential tip reporting portals: Online (https://mtaig.ny.gov/Pages/ComplaintForm.aspx), Phone 1-800-MTA-IG4U (1-800-682-4448) or Email ([email protected]).
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