Transportation Alternatives has done a great job in surveying candidates for public offices across New York City about their positions on a number of mobility issues, including congestion pricing, traffic justice, pedestrian safety, and the MTA.
New York City Comptroller candidate John Liu, however, used the survey to propogate a lie that he’s been spreading as a cornerstone of his campaign:
As chairperson of the Transportation Committee, I have conducted vigorous oversight over the MTA, particularly its finances. It was through these hearings that I discovered that the MTA had 2 sets of books costing the taxpayers of millions of dollars.
Except that’s just simply not true. The Daily News called Liu out on this claim last week after he used it in his campaign materials and TV ad. Not only did Liu not “discover” the “2 sets of books,” but there weren’t “2 sets of books.”
The Daily News article about Liu’s hearing on Jan. 17, 2003, says that the IBO report had come out the day before and that Liu “seized on” the report to grill [former MTA Executive Director Katherine] Lapp.
The report says Lapp strongly denied inflating the MTA’s deficit.
A state appeals court eventually debunked the allegations of two sets of books.
“Two courts have ruled that the charge made by a now-discredited controller [Hevesi] was absolutely false,” said former MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow.
Thompson, who is running for mayor and has been endorsed by all four controller hopefuls, declined to comment.
It’s just another sad example of the MTA being New York City politicians’ favorite punching bag.