Former Valley Metro CEO Stephen Banta is getting a $180,000 payout, despite being accused of stealing money from taxpayers.
On Wednesday, the City Council voted 6-3 to pay a portion of the payout to the former executive to settle legal claims after accusing Valley Metro of wrongful termination and breach of contract. The special policy meeting comes after a previous City Council meeting.
The decision to vote on this item came from three councilmen, Michael Nowakowski, Jim Waring and Sal DiCiccio. They sent a letter to the city manager to address stripping $64,000 of funds from Valley Metro. The $64,000 represents the city’s proportional share of the $180,000 payout Valley Metro plans to hand over to Banta.
Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio released a statement after the controversial vote, stating that he didn’t agree with the decision.
“Today, this Council voted to feather the nest of a top level person. Banta is accused of taking over $272,000 of taxpayer monies and instead of demanding that he return every penny, he is now being rewarded…,” DiCiccio said.
Banta resigned from his post last year after being accused of misspending public funds while working as the head of the company.
“Valley Metro and now the City of Phoenix are condoning and rewarding his bad behavior,” DiCiccio said. “Low level employees go to prison. Those at the top get rewarded with more taxpayer money.”
According to reports, Banta spent hundreds of dollars on trips and dinners.
However, Banta has since defended the lavish spending saying that his attendance at international conferences allows Phoenix to be a player in the worldwide transit industry.