Healey collects $1.1m from T parking lot operator
AG settlement follows $4.5m agreement with MBTA
ATTORNEY GENERAL MAURA HEALEY’S office reached a settlement on Monday with the MBTA’s former parking lot operator, requiring LAZ Parking to pay the state $1.1 million to resolve allegations that its failure to monitor 13 lots caused significant revenue losses.
“LAZ employees skimmed millions of dollars in cash from MBTA parking facilities, robbing the public of funds we need to invest in transportation,” Healey said in a statement. “Through this settlement, we’re recovering millions of dollars for the state and forcing the company to change its bidding practices.”
The agreement with Healey’s office comes on the heels of a separate $4.5 million settlement between LAZ Parking and the MBTA in connection with a lawsuit over the revenue losses. That settlement, reported last week by CommonWealth, made the MBTA “whole,” according to the transit agency’s general counsel, John Englander, who gave a brief report on the agreement at a meeting Monday of the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board.
LAZ has maintained that the thefts were caused by a couple employees who were dismissed, but a Healey press release said she believes LAZ violated the state’s False Claims Act and Consumer Protection Act by failing to properly monitor the 13 MBTA parking lots, resulting in the submission of false claims and records. The press release said Healey’s office “alleges that LAZ submitted false daily revenue reports and monthly audits and falsely certified monthly invoices to the MBTA due to its failure to properly track or audit revenue collection and usage at the 13 attended lots.”
LAZ and the T issued a joint statement on Monday saying they were pleased they were able “to work together cooperatively to reach a resolution that makes the MBTA whole for the losses it sustained.”Jeffrey N. Karp, the president of LAZ, issued a statement later on Monday placing the blame on three former employees. “After review by third party auditors, and on mutual agreement with the MBTA, LAZ acknowledges the alleged theft by three dishonest employees at a limited number of these parking lots,” Karp said. “Once the loss was discovered, we acted swiftly to identify and immediately terminate those allegedly responsible. Throughout this process we have been diligent, fully engaged, and cooperative with the authorities involved to identify the nature and extent of the financial loss to the MBTA. LAZ has accepted our share of any responsibility and we have honored all of the commitments we had made and fully reimbursed the MBTA for the losses which were incurred.”
None of the press releases or statements issued by LAZ, Healey’s office, or the MBTA have indicated whether the employees who stole T parking revenues will be prosecuted criminally.