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Posts Tagged ‘Frank Wilson’

Can we share these lanes?

Metro is rethinking how the light rail lines run in parts of downtown. Traffic woes and collisions along the newest light-rail lines in downtown have Metro leaders toying with the idea of backpedaling on their promise not to close parts of the lanes to cars. The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s new Green and Purple lines in […]

Here comes the fully extended Green Line

Hallelujah. Oh what a rocky ride it’s been. Political opposition. A Buy America violation. Construction delays. Contaminated soil that sank an underpass. Overweight and badly-manufactured railcars. More construction delays. When trains finally start rolling along the new Green Line into neighborhoods east of downtown on Wednesday, the last leg in Metro’s controversial multi-billion dollar project […]

Treating all fares the same

Good idea. A six-month test starting in February will gauge the effects of letting cash-paying rail riders switch to buses for free. The vast majority of riders use a Q card, day pass or some other form of Metro payment. Transfers with those items are free, provided subsequent trips are along the system and not […]

I got those “can’t get my rail cars built on time” blues

Actually, I don’t, but Metro does. The company building 39 new Metro railcars has yet to deliver an acceptable vehicle almost six months after the original due date, potentially delaying full service for rail lines scheduled to open later this year. The first car hasn’t passed a required water leak test and exceeds the maximum […]

Greanias to step down from Metro

Bummer. George Greanias, appointed to lead the Metropolitan Transit Authority in September 2010 after political squabbling and inefficiencies led to widespread criticism of the bus and train system, is resigning, a Metro spokeswoman confirmed Friday. Greanias has stated his intent to resign from his position as president and chief executive officer, but a formal letter […]

Metro officially back on track with the FTA

The “Buy America” nightmare is now history for Metro. In September 2010, the FTA announced that the process Metro had used to award a rail car contract to CAF USA, the U.S. subsidiary of a Spanish company, violated federal law and “Buy America” requirements that were designed to protect U.S. jobs. To requalify for federal […]

Metro settles with Higgins

And the last bit of “old Metro” business gets put to rest. The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s board [Thursday] agreed to settle a lawsuit by the agency’s former chief counsel in which she accused Metro of firing her for trying to prevent the allegedly unlawful destruction of documents. Metro has agreed to pay Pauline Higgins up […]

Bye-bye, intermodal center

In the process of writing off some bad assets in what one hopes is the last ritual cleansing of the Frank Wilson era, Metro says good-bye to something we hadn’t heard of in awhile. Metro has given up on what it calls an intermodal terminal just north of downtown at Main and Burnett streets on […]

Metro reaches settlement with CAF

Fresh from the inbox: The Metropolitan Transit Authority announced today that it has reached a settlement with CAF USA, Inc. (a subsidiary of the Spanish Firm Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, S.A.) over two disputed contracts for the construction of light rail cars for its North and Southeast Corridor lines. Under the agreement, the contracts […]

Moving on at Metro

Frank Wilson is gone at Metro, and others are following him out the door. “A number of the senior appointees that Frank Wilson brought in are no longer here,” said George Greanias, Wilson’s successor, but he did not describe it as a purge. The positions of the five people who have left were abolished, and […]

Feds reject CAF’s review request

I smell a lawsuit coming. Federal officials on Friday rejected a Metro contractor’s bid to preserve its $330 million deal to supply rail cars, setting the stage for possible litigation over the soon-to-be-canceled contract. Dorval R. Carter Jr., the chief counsel of the Federal Transit Administration, said the contractor, CAF USA, failed to provide any […]

How Metro nearly cost itself $900 million

It’s an impressive feat, for some sense of the word. In the first months of the procurement process, documents show, [former Metro CEO Frank] Wilson intended to use local rather than federal funds to buy the light-rail vehicles, possibly in the hope that this would avert the need to comply with federal requirements. “FJW (Wilson) […]

FTA gives Metro a second chance

That sound you hear is a bullet whizzing past Metro’s ear Metro violated federal laws in making a deal with a Spanish company to purchase 103 rail cars, and must re-bid the purchase in order to qualify for a $900 million grant, the nation’s top transit official said today. Peter Rogoff, the administrator of the […]

The Metro settlement agreement

I presume we’ll get some more details in the morning, but for now I wanted to highlight one aspect of the story of Metro’s settlement agreement with Lloyd Kelley. The suit accused Metro and several of its top officials, including then-President Frank J. Wilson, of destroying documents Kelley requested under the Texas Public Information Act. […]

Grand jury hears Metro document shredding evidence

Obviously, the District Attorney’s office is farther along in their investigation than I thought. A courthouse appearance today by Frank J. Wilson, the former Metropolitan Transit Authority president accused of destroying public documents, provided the first indication that prosecutors are presenting evidence to a grand jury in the case. Wilson, 61, walked into a room […]

One Metro lawsuit pulled from court docket

Looks promising. Metro expects to reach a settlement soon in an open-records lawsuit that triggered a series of accusations and investigations that gripped the transit agency for months, board chairman Gilbert Garcia said. The trial of the lawsuit by attorney and former City Controller Lloyd Kelley, scheduled to begin Monday in state district court, has […]

Meet George Greanias

As we know, former City Controller and member of Mayor Parker’s transition team George Greanias has taken over, at least on an interim basis, as the CEO of Metro. Houston Tomorrow has a brief intro to Greanias, including a pointer to this 1997 Houston Press cover story about Greanias’ rocky relationship with then-Mayor Bob Lanier […]

Wilson resigns

He’s out. Frank J. Wilson relinquished the leadership of the Metropolitan Transit Authority on Friday, leaving Metro’s reconstituted board and an acting chief executive with the task of completing the light rail system Wilson was hired to build six years ago. Wilson, 61, signed a deal to terminate his employment as president and chief executive […]

Was it worth it for two prototypes?

I’m really at a loss to understand how the previous Metro board could have put $900 million at risk to make it easier for their manufacturer to build two prototype light rail cars. Eight days after federal officials rejected the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s request for a waiver from federal requirements that it assemble its light […]

More on Wilson’s departure

More evidence that Metro CEO Frank Wilson is about to be history: The Metro board has a replacement in mind. The board is expected to name George Greanias, a former city councilman and controller who co-chaired Mayor Annise Parker’s Metro transition committee, as interim chief executive, the sources said. A national search would be undertaken […]

Is this the end for Frank Wilson?

Could be. The Metropolitan Transit Authority board is working toward president and chief executive officer Frank Wilson’s “amicable” departure from the agency as soon as Friday, sources said today. A plan under discussion involves naming George Greanias, the former city controller who chaired Mayor Annise Parker’s Metro transition committees, as interim president and chief executive […]

It’s always something

Good news for Metro. The “forensic accounting review” by UHY Advisors examined all business expense reports submitted to Metro by its chief executive, Frank Wilson, and chief of staff, Joanne Wright. Both joined Metro in May 2004; Wilson previously was Wright’s supervisor for two years at the New Jersey Department of Transportation and for seven […]

Pauline Higgins sues Metro

Pauline Higgins, the former chief counsel for Metro who was fired in the wake of the document shredding scandal, has now sued the agency for wrongful termination. “This case involves cut-throat politics and cronyism at Metro,” Pauline Higgins said in the lawsuit filed in state district court. It seeks her reinstatement, unspecified damages and legal […]

Firing Frank

Mayor Annise Parker has said she wants the new Metro board to fire Frank Wilson, the agency’s CEO. So why hasn’t that happened yet? There are a couple of complicating factors. Among them are uncertainty about the outcome of two investigations of allegations involving Wilson and the cost of buying out his contract — estimated […]

Metro and the FTA

I didn’t see this KHOU story, in which a regular Metro critic claims that the agency deliberately gave outdated sales tax revenue information to the Federal Transit Administration in order to get $900 million in federal money for the North and Southeast lines, until I saw this Houston Politics post in which the Mayor and […]

The question not asked

Lisa Falkenberg has a chat with Lloyd Kelley. Kelley, the attorney whose lawsuit against the county unearthed embarrassing e-mails that brought down former District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal a couple of years ago, is at it again, with his latest public document fishing expedition at least appearing to have reeled in another big one in Metro’s […]

Parker reaffirms commitment to light rail

This is what I want to see. [Mayor Annise] Parker’s letter regarding this week’s Metro board meeting was sent on the eve of her trip to Washington, where she said she would reassure U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that her administration wants to see five new light-rail lines built in Houston. “I just want them […]

Metro asks consultant to investigate Wilson allegations

We’ll see if there’s anything to the hype. A consultant with expertise in identifying business fraud will investigate allegations that Metro’s chief executive used public funds in an inappropriate relationship with his assistant, the agency announced today. David Wolff, the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s board chairman, asked Jeff Harfenist, a managing director of UHY Advisors, to […]

More on Metro’s finances

The Chron takes a closer look at Metro’s finances and the recently expressed doubts about their ability to pay for the University and Uptown lines. Mayor Annise Parker said last week that she wasn’t convinced the Metropolitan Transit Authority would have the money to build its planned Uptown and University rail lines. Parker said she […]

Got evidence?

If you saw Wednesday night’s rather sensational coverage of the allegations that Metro CEO Frank Wilson had an “improper” relationship with an employee, you would have come away with the impression that things were about to go all Chuck Rosenthal at that agency. But if you read this Houston Politics post about that hearing, you […]

Metro CEO accused of inappropriate relationship with employee

Well, at least we now have some idea of what Lloyd Kelley has been looking for. The president and CEO of the Metropolitan Transit Authority was accused in open court Wednesday of having an improper relationship with a female employee who works for him. That alleged relationship may include taxpayer-funded trips to Spain, additional compensation […]

Criminal probe of Metro document shredding begins

I can’t wait to see how this turns out. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has begun a criminal investigation into allegations that the Metropolitan Transit Authority improperly destroyed public documents, a prosecutor confirmed Friday. The statement by Terese Buess, the head of the district attorney’s public integrity division, came during a hearing that ended […]

Please don’t shred the documents

This isn’t good. At a crucial moment in the development of its light rail system, Metro confronted accusations Wednesday that it shredded documents sought in an open-records request, then fired two attorneys who objected to its handling of the request. State District Judge Robert Shaffer signed a temporary restraining order forbidding the Metropolitan Transit Authority […]

Bonding Metro

It wouldn’t be Metro if there weren’t drama. Metro has not obtained performance or payment bonds to cover all the planned construction of four new light rail lines, and some officials say that could put taxpayer dollars at risk. Metro President Frank Wilson said the transit agency has not made a final decision, but tentatively […]