If you ever hear the name David Khoukhachvili, the first thing that should come to mind is “scammer”. This is according to a report which will appear in today’s New York Daily News, which talks about how he scammed the MTA for a dozen years by using doctored papers to obtain a cheaper rental rate. John Marzulli has more:
A businessman got a great deal on a lease for a garage and restaurant at the MTA’s lower Manhattan headquarters – by allegedly faking the rental papers, the Daily News has learned.
For the last 12 years, David Khoukhachvili has been fooling the agency into thinking he had a legitimate lease for his businesses at 2 Broadway, according to court papers unsealed this week.
When the MTA took over the building in 1998, it assumed the leases of other tenants.
Khoukhachvili is accused of backdating a bogus document to make it look like a basement parking garage and the Bull and Bear restaurant were old tenants.
“Khoukhachvili and others would be assured a long-term and increased stream of profit for the parking garage because the MTA would be stuck with the lease for decades with Khoukhachvili making a low monthly lease payment,” FBI agent George Khouzami said in a affidavit.
The criminal complaint doesn’t estimate how much money the MTA lost out on, but Khoukhachvili was paying $13,000 a month with 3% increases.
An unidentified cooperating witness blew the lid off the scheme.
Click here to read the complete report.
This is extremely disturbing news on many different levels. Besides the obvious angle of how something like this has cost the MTA millions over the last dozen years, one has to wonder how something like this went undetected for so long. Why were measures not in place to avoid such bogus transactions from happening? Since this is the MTA we are talking about, could we really expect this to be just an isolated incident?
The agency needs to seriously go over all of their transactions with a fine tooth comb & make sure nothing of this sort is happening. While it might take some time to do such a thing, it is better to cross this bridge now versus having this outcome repeat itself.
xoxo Transit Blogger