MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny today released the results of an investigation, substantiating that Alexander Elegudin (Elegudin), a former New York City Transit (NYC Transit) Senior Advisor, based in MTA Headquarters, disclosed confidential selection committee information to Curb Mobility, LLC (Curb Mobility) during the procurement process, in a failed attempt to help the vendor land a multi-million dollar contract award. The investigation commenced after the MTA referred the matter to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for an independent review.
“Giving an unfair advantage to anyone in the public procurement process is wrong, but it is especially egregious for an MTA executive and vendor to do so, in a way that potentially jeopardizes a critical paratransit initiative,” said MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny. “This Senior Advisor knew he was breaking agency and New York State ethics policy by disclosing confidential information and trying to devise a way for a vendor, with whom he’d had a long-term relationship with, to get a second bite at the apple. NYC Transit’s finding that the vendor was non-responsible, resulting in its exclusion from future MTA projects, sends a strong message to all vendors not to play games with the MTA.”
NYC Transit’s Paratransit division provides transportation to riders with disabilities through its Access-A-Ride program which includes certified and ADA compliant broker car services, including taxis and for-hire vehicles. As demand increased for broker-based car services for paratransit, NYC Transit issued a new Request for Proposal (RFP) in April 2020. The proposed contracts were for a 3-year term with an option for NYC Transit to extend the contract for up to 2 additional years totaling approximately $579 million across all selected vendors.
OIG investigators found that in August 2020, Elegudin’s subordinate, who also served as a member of the Selection Committee, told Elegudin that Curb Mobility was not going to be awarded a new contract because its prices were too high. Elegudin immediately texted this confidential information to Jason Gross, a Vice President at Curb Mobility, and then attempted multiple times to persuade NYC Transit to allow Curb Mobility, and other candidates to resubmit their bids. Fortunately, NYC Transit has stated there was no financial loss to the agency associated with this misconduct. The contract was rebid in December 2020 for reasons unrelated to the OIG investigation and the public procurement process is still ongoing.
NYC Transit accepted all of the OIG’s findings and recommendations. A special responsibility hearing was held for Curb Mobility where they were found to be non-responsible. New York state law precludes New York State agencies and authorities from awarding contracts to a non-responsible bidder, unless the agency or authority obtains a waiver from the Counsel to the Governor. Curb Mobility, LLC states that it intends to appeal the determination. Elegudin resigned from NYC Transit in the Fall of 2020; the OIG’s report will be placed in his personnel file. Elegudin’s subordinate has been counseled.
The investigation was conducted by Senior Investigative Attorney Maureen McCormack and Senior Financial Investigator Stephen Tortorella.
The OIG’s report, including findings and recommendations, is available for download here.
The MTA Inspector General encourages all members of the public to reach out with complaints, tips, or to report fraud via the Office’s confidential tip reporting portals: online here, by telephone at 1-800-MTA-IG4U or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.