3 MTA Employees Busted After Building a 'Man Cave' Under New York City's Grand Central Terminal
The room was furnished with a futon couch, a refrigerator, a microwave and a wall-mounted TV that was connected to a streaming device, according to a report from Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector Carolyn Pokorny
Three MTA employees were suspended without pay for converting a room underneath New York City's Grand Central Terminal into their own personal "man cave," according to a new report from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The suspended employees include a wireman, an electrical foreman and a carpenter foreman, all of whom allegedly used the room to "hang out and get drunk and party," MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny said in the report.
It's unclear when the unauthorized break room was first created and how long it had been in use.
Per the report, the room was furnished with a futon couch, a refrigerator, a microwave and a wall-mounted TV that was connected to a streaming device.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) also found a half-consumed beer in the refrigerator and an empty can in the trash, and a cabinet under the TV that they believe was built to hide the device. There was also an air mattress alongside a clear plastic bag filled with sheets and a comforter.
The report said investigators had found an "overwhelming" amount of evidence that the three Metro-North Railroad employees used the unauthorized break room several times, though just when they used it and if they were on the clock at the time remains unclear.
"MNR provides an authorized brea kroom equipped with a television, yet these employees spent time away from the common area creating a real risk that they were present in the room when they were supposed to be working and engaged in conduct not permitted during work hours," the report said.
The Office of the MTA Inspector General said it received an anonymous email complaint about the room in February 2019 before a similar complaint was made later that year in June.
The report said the room was unmapped, and that the MNR Fire Brigade "considers an unmapped room for which no one appears to have the key to be very dangerous," as it's largely inaccessible.
It also posed a potential fire hazard due to the wiring of the TV monitor and the attached streaming device.
An investigation found various pieces of evidence linking the three employees to the room, including a receipt for the air mattress that contained the wireman's name, and the fact that the streaming device was registered to the electrical foreman.
All three employees denied using the room, though the OIG said in the report that their statements were "not credible."
In addition to their suspensions, they've been served with disciplinary charges, which Pokorny recommended be "up to and including termination" as the MNR sees fit.
"Many a New Yorker has fantasized about kicking back with a cold beer in a prime piece of Manhattan real estate — especially one this close to good transportation,” Pokorny said in a statement obtained by WNBC. "But few would have the chutzpah to commandeer a secret room beneath Grand Central Terminal and make it their very own man-cave, sustained with MTA resources, and maintained at our riders’ expense."
Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi also released a statement in response to the report, saying, "The behavior described in the IG's report is outrageously inappropriate and is not consistent with Metro-North's values and the commitment that we have to providing safe, reliable and cost-efficient service to our customers. All three employees were immediately suspended without pay and are being disciplined in accordance with their collective bargaining agreements."