Fake Reports Put Straphangers in Danger, Says Council

Widespread fraud by MTA signal inspectors for more than a decade may have placed subway riders in danger, the City Council said.

Inspectors faked up to 90 percent of the reports they filed and claimed unfinished work was completed, according to an MTA Inspector General Report released last month.

New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast, speaking at a Transportation Committee hearing Thursday night, blamed the stunning results on a culture of lax oversight at the MTA.

"This is a senior management failure," he said. "When you have reporting systems that are so archaic and so inefficient you can't even ascertain the accountability of who did the falsification, that's part of the problem."

Lawmakers also heard from the president of the Transport Workers Union, who said MTA management assigned too much work to subway inspectors, and pressured them to certify work to keep production statistics up.

The Council is calling for greater accountability from the MTA on its signal inspection system.

Queens Councilman Peter Koo said report-falsifying inspectors need to be fired in order to keep others in line: "Let me use a parable. 'You have to kill a chicken to scare the monkeys,'" he said.