In what allegedly appears to be a scam of major proportions, the MBTA has placed a Blue Line subway train superintendent on administrative leave and the Transit Police have embarked on an aggressive investigation into allegations in the purported scam.
Christopher Shea, who serves as a higher-up in the Blue Line, has also had his T-owned computer seized as part of the investigation.
“The Blue Line superintendent has been placed on administrative leave while Transit Police conduct an investigation,” said Joe Pesaturo of the MBTA. “His MBTA-owned computer was seized by police as part of their investigation.”
The situation came to light through the allegations of one Revere businessman, who alleges that Shea and another MBTA official bilked him out of more than $25,000 since last December.
The Revere businessman, who asked to remain anonymous due to the ongoing investigation, indicated that he had been led to believe that he was “buying out” an old MBTA contract to do a substantial amount of outsourced work for the T.
He even alleged that all of the business regarding the purported scam took place in an MBTA office building with dozens of people also in the office – leading him to believe the situation was above the table and legitimate.
In fact, he said that he had even been taken on a tour of several MBTA facilities to preview the work that might need to be done under the contract.
“He had keys to a lot of T buildings all over the place and access to some very secure locations,” said the Revere businessman. “He was pretty important, it seemed, and appeared to be able to do what he said he was going to do. None of this took place in the alley or in secret, it was all out in the open.”
The alleged scam began to unravel, he said, after he made the first “buy out” payment to what he believed was the MBTA office. After several months, none of the work materialized as promised and the businessman got upset. Meanwhile, allegedly, the MBTA official began demanding more money to “get the ball rolling.”
The businessman allegedly even has recordings of those demands, some of which the Journal has heard.
“At this point, we just want our money back,” he said. “It was very hard for us to get that kind of money and we thought we were going to be expanding our business in a positive way.”
The businessman chose to go to authorities just two weeks ago, with Shea being put on leave last week.
According to MBTA payroll records, Shea made $81,780 in 2011.