T parking fee probe expands to 3 stations

Letter cites doctored reports, shortages, fired worker

AN INTERNAL MBTA DOCUMENT indicates a probe of parking fee losses now extends to more than one station and refers to a terminated employee who had been working for the private parking lot operator.

CommonWealth first reported on the parking fee discrepancies on April 6. At the time, T officials issued a statement saying discrepancies had been found only at the North Quincy station on the Red Line. The officials indicated they had asked the private parking lot operator, LAZ Parking, for a full accounting.

Five days later, on April 11, the T said its transit police had taken over the probe. T officials declined to provide any additional information on LAZ’s response to inquiries or the size of potential parking revenue losses.

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Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

A source close to the investigation said the T called in its transit police and auditors because the report from LAZ Parking was inadequate. The LAZ report apparently uncovered “doctored reports” at the North Quincy station and indicated a supervisor there had failed to follow proper procedures and “was likely responsible for shortages.”

But the LAZ report did not document losses at North Quincy or fully explore potential losses and significant shortages in fees at parking lots at the Lechmere and Riverside T stops. T officials also said a LAZ employee had been terminated at the Lechmere parking facility, apparently in connection with the parking probe.

A letter dated April 14 from Ronald Ross, the T’s director of parking, to Marc Lutwack, the executive vice president at LAZ Parking, cited numerous deficiencies in the LAZ report and said the T transit police were being called in to conduct “a thorough, comprehensive review.”