MTA worker fired after using sick time for getaways


His luck ran out.

An MTA worker was fired after abusing paid sick leave over several years to spend extended weekends gambling at a casino in Atlantic City, according to a report from the office of Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny.

The now-former employee — a traffic checker for New York City Transit not identified by name in the documents — crapped out after running the scam at least between March 2018 and February 2020, pocketing some 75 hours in sick pay equivalent to $1,380, according to the report, to be released later Monday.

The grifter, who was hired by NYCT in 2007, first applied for and was granted paid sick time under the Family Medical Leave Act in 2017, citing a “serious health condition” not specified in the documents.

Between Jan. 2018 and March 2020, the worker took approximately 70 days of leave under the act — but on at least a dozen occasions, he actually spent the time playing the slots at Atlantic City’s Tropicana Resort and Casino, according to the probe.

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Investigators reviewed hotel records from the Tropicana, as well as activity on the worker’s “gold player card,” that showed he stayed overnight at the casino roughly once a month and tried to beat the one-armed bandit.

On at least 12 occasions, the worker used the FMLA to start his weekend getaways a day early or end them a day late, investigators found.

All told for those dates, the worker cashed in for approximately 75 hours under the FMLA, to the tune of about $1,380, according to the audit.

Under questioning by investigators from the inspector general’s office, the worker at first insisted that he only went to the Tropicana on his scheduled days off, the report states.

Confronted with evidence that he was, on multiple occasions, in Atlantic City beyond his weekend, the worker then admitted to sometimes staying late when experiencing side effects from his medication so serious that they prevented him from traveling, the report continues.

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Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny
Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny’s office put out a report stating that an MTA worker was fired after abusing paid sick leave.
Gregory P. Mango

In a November letter to the MTA, the OIG recommended that the worker face penalties up to termination.

He was brought up on disciplinary charges and his firing was approved that same month.

The traffic checker requested and was granted an arbitration hearing, but the ruling was affirmed earlier this month.

“This employee didn’t just gamble in a casino while calling out sick. He gambled with his job,” said MTA spokesman Shams Tarek. “This was a clear violation of the public trust, which is why when we learned about it we acted quickly and he was terminated through our grievance and arbitration process.”

The inspector general’s office in recent years has made a point of cracking down on overtime abuse — a pattern that has included at least one other MTA employee heading to Atlantic City on company time.



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