Feds probe MTA overtime king, over a dozen other LIRR workers: reportMay 17, 2019
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have subpoenaed pay records for a recently retired Long Island Rail Road official who has emerged as the MTA reigning overtime king — as well as more than a dozen other workers at the LIRR and New York City Transit, according to a new report.
Thomas Caputo, who retired recently as the LIRR’s chief measurement operator, raked in $344,147 in overtime for 2018 by logging 3,864 extra hours — bringing his total take to $461,646, according to data from the Empire Center.
The watchdog group also found that one LIRR track worker, Marco Pazmino, more than quadrupled his base salary last year, taking home $256,177 by working an eye-popping 4,157 hours in OT alone.
Three people with direct knowledge of the probe told the New York Times on the condition of anonymity that the feds have subpoenaed Caputo’s and the others’ pay records.
Prosecutors in the public corruption unit of the US Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York are leading the inquiry, while the Queens District Attorney’s office has launched a separate probe along with the MTA’s inspector general, the Times reported.
Prosecutors also plan to review the antiquated timekeeping practices — handwritten records submitted by workers — used in some of the LIRR’s departments, the newspaper reported Friday.
Managers told the Times that state-of-the-art machines more capable of detecting fraud have been installed but not used amid fears of resistance by employees.
New York City Transit, which oversees subways and buses, utilizes technology that dates to the early 20th century — timecards with mechanical punch-clocks.
Caputo did not respond to requests for comment by the newspaper and US Attorney’s Office spokesman Jame Margolin declined to comment.
John Samuelsen, who heads the Transport Workers Union, said he was unaware of a criminal investigation.
“There is no evidence of systematic abuse or criminality or fraud at New York City Transit,” Samuelsen told The Times. “This is putting the cart before the horse.”
Anthony Simon, the general chairman of a major LIRR union, did not respond to the paper’s requests for comment. The governor’s office and a rep for MTA declined to comment.
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged that LIRR workers are logging overtime hours that are “almost physically impossible” — and demanded the agency rout out any “fraud.”
“When you open the newspaper and read about people making $400,000 a year, which is almost physically impossible, right?” Cuomo said of The Post’s coverage.
Cuomo’s appointees run the MTA, though he frequently insists the agency is out of his control.
The stunning figures have prompted MTA Chairman Pat Foye to order an OT crackdown at the agency, including a probe into the past 12 months of overtime at the LIRR, and sending the agency’s cops to monitor workers’ hours.
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