New York charges former contract manager for bid-rigging on Metro-North railroad

Manhattan’s district attorney has charged a former contract manager for New York’s Metro-North Railroad of bid-rigging and taking kickbacks for awarding contracts.

The prosecution alleges that James Berlangero, 62, leaked confidential information to WRS Environmental Services, a company that won $10m in contracts to transport and dispose of dangerous waste. Two of its employees, owner and chief executive Michael Rodgers and director of business development Thomas Willis, were also charged with fraud.

According to Cyrus Vance, Manhattan’s district attorney, Berlangero received in return $59,000 in cash, a $10,000 sponsorship for his brother’s race-car team and a job for his daughter.

The prosecution also alleges that Berlangero overturned a decision to award a contract to a different firm, passed on competitors’ bid offers and give WRS Metro-North score sheets so the firm could tailor a presentation to get the highest evaluation.

Vance said: "Asbestos abatement and regulated waste removal are serious public health and safety matters, particularly when it comes to facilities like Grand Central that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and visitors use every day.

"Thanks to the talented investigators at the Office of the MTA Inspector General and our Rackets Bureau prosecutors, this corrupt scheme has reached the end of the line."

Carolyn Pokorny, MTA’s inspector general, said: "These individuals shamelessly lined their pockets at the expense of riders, taxpayers and Metro-North by criminally sharing confidential and competitive project information to undercut the competition."

Image: A train on the Metro-North Railroad (Public Domain)

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