I was browsing the local papers & found a brief report about how the MTA Bridges & Tunnels division was scammed by Spanish firm Telvent GIT. The company schemed to lower their potential profit from a bid to maintain the MTA’s electronic-toll system. Bruce Golding & Tom Namako of the New York Post have more in this brief report:
The MTA awarded a $28.6 million contract to a Spanish company that hatched a fraudulent scheme to lowball its projected profits, a whistleblower suit filed yesterday charges.
Phillip Leshinsky of Brooklyn claims he was fired by Telvent GIT after voicing concerns that the alleged scam by the company’s top execs would be “unethical, dishonest and probably illegal.”
His Manhattan federal court suit seeks $875,000 in lost wages and other damages on grounds that he had engaged in “protected activity” under law to prevent mail and wire fraud.
Leshinsky, who had formerly worked as deputy CFO for the transit agency, says Telvent execs conspired to use an outdated audit that artificially inflated its overhead costs as part of a 2008 bid to maintain the MTA’s electronic-toll system.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels “had announced that it would not permit any company bidding on the contract to make a profit higher than 20 percent,” according to court papers.
Leshinsky, who was taken off the project before being canned from his $165,000-a-year job, doesn’t say in the suit how much his ex-employer actually made.
Neither Telvent nor the MTA responded to requests for comment.
On the surface, the overall amount in this deal is a drop in the bucket when it comes to MTA finances. I can’t deny that as the numbers speak for themselves. The real problem is the regularity that the MTA finds itself on the wrong end of deals with the companies it does business with. Whether it is companies allegedly lying about potential profits or the agency overpaying for goods or services compared to others.
This has been a long standing fundamental problem for an agency that is severely cash strapped. Why do they not do a better job in scrutinizing the vendors they do or have done business with or in the prices that they pay? I can’t be the only one notices how they have routinely been price gouged or been outright cheated. While picking the numbers on one specific deal might seem like a drop in the bucket, add them all up & it paints a very ugly picture. This picture needs to be fixed, end of story!
xoxo Transit Blogger