When former MTA CEO and Executive Director Elliot Sander opted to head to arbitration with the TWU, apparently, he agreed via handshake to donate John Zuccotti’s salary to the TWU’s Widows and Orphans Fund. This revelation — a clear conflict of interests — did not come to light until after Zuccotti sided with the union in the arbitration dispute, and now, the MTA is holding up payment of the donation. According to Pete Donohue, new MTA CEO and Chair Jay Walder and the rest of the authority’s board have asked MTA Inspector General Barry Kluger to review the circumstances surrounding this handshake agreement.
I’m not really sure what recourse the MTA has here. There is a clear ethics issue here, and Zuccotti, a senior counsel at Weil, Gotshal, should have recognized that before proposing this deal with Sander. Yet, the MTA may not have much of a choice and could instead just be further antagonizing the TWU over something the current leadership cannot control. As always, stay tuned.