The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s effort to turn a vacant 32-story office building at the foot of Manhattan into its headquarters has long been regarded by many as a fiasco – more than $300 million over budget and plagued by leaky pipes, courtroom battles and accusations of cronyism. And it got worse yesterday, when federal prosecutors unsealed court papers revealing that the man who ran the project for the agency and who received more than $10 million in salary and bonuses had longstanding ties to not one, but two Mafia families, reports the New York Times.
The authorities said that the executive, Frederick J. Contini, 45, who was named the 1999 developer of the year for his work at the project at 2 Broadway, was actually working with the Gambino and Genovese crime families and had entered a secret guilty plea to racketeering charges earlier this year. The M.T.A. had put Contini, 45, in charge of the project even after an earlier employer fired him and warned the agency to steer clear of him. Prosecutors also revealed that the corruption at 2 Broadway was more widespread than previously disclosed and cost millions of dollars for the public transportation authority, which is struggling for cash and again raising the possibility of fare increases for buses, subways and commuter trains.