The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (the Commission) announced today two separate actions in which one current and one former employee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) track and subway divisions were fined for violating State ethics laws.
In one case, an employee in the MTA’s track engineering division improperly shared confidential information with a potential vendor for the State. The other case involved a now-former employee of the MTA’s Department of Subways-Maintenance who used State equipment for the benefit of his private engineering business over the course of several years.
Antonio Cabrera, a 20-year employee now serving as an assistant chief officer in the MTA’s track engineering division, was fined $2,000 in a settlement with the Commission for violating the State’s ban on disclosing confidential information acquired as part of their employment. The fine is an addition to a demotion and cut in pay through disciplinary proceedings resulting of his actions.
According to the Commission’s settlement, in 2011, Cabrera provided confidential information to a company responding to an MTA request for information regarding the manufacturing and installation of solid cast polymer compound for railroad ties. Cabrera told the company the identity of a potential competitor that responded to the same request for information.
Separately, between 2008 and 2013, Mohammad Baalbaki, a former assistant chief officer of infrastructure engineering with the MTA’s Department of Subways-Maintenance, used MTA computers, scanners, copiers and specialized software for his personal engineering business, Baalbaki and Associates Engineering P.C. Under a settlement with the Commission, Baalbaki paid a $1,500 fine. Baalbaki, who worked at the MTA since 1989, was terminated in December 2013 as a result of an investigation by the MTA Inspector General into the allegations.
“These two State officials violated core provisions of the State’s Code of Ethics prohibiting the sharing of confidential information and the use of taxpayers’ resources for personal benefit,” said commission Executive Director Letizia Tagliafierro. “The Joint Commission will continue to hold State officials accountable when they violate their commitment to public service.”