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Wednesday, April 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Bribes Pay Off in NY, Bus Companies Say

MANHATTAN (CN) - A bus company paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks to state and city employees and was rewarded with a $618 million extension of its school bus transportation contract, competitors claim in New York County Court.

Lead plaintiff Amboy Bus Co. claims that Logan Bus Co. and its affiliates made "unlawful payments" to the state and city Departments of Education in exchange for "additional bus routes added to its existing contracts."

In 2008, "the New York City pupil transportation system was rocked by revelations of a massive bribery scandal involving ... payoffs paid by several school bus companies, including Logan, over a period of years to employees of the OPT [Office of Pupil Transportation]," the complaint states.

Several OPT employees pleaded guilty to federal felonies, and testified that Logan was "among the bus companies that made illegal payments," Amboy says.

Despite this misconduct, the Department of Education has now "agreed, at OPT's recommendation, to extend for another three years the contract under which Logan provides school bus transportation services," according to the complaint.

The contract is for $206 million a year: $618 million for the 3-year extension.

The long list of defendants includes NY City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, NY State Education Commissioner David Steiner, the state and city Departments of Education, and a string of bus companies.

The plaintiffs, eight bus companies and an individual, seek injunctive relief from "any steps to renew ... Logan's bus transportation contracts with OPT."

They are represented by Steven Shore with Ganfer & Shore.

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