This train wreck continues to unfold as Valley Metro is being sued by Steve Banta. Yep, one day after a scathing audit rips former Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta of more financial shenanigans, he and his high paid lawyers file a notice of claim for $1.65 million.
Basically, this is the first of many steps that says he is going to stand up to his former employer and sue them for wrongful termination.
This has been a heck of a story to follow. If you remember back to about November of last year, we started hearing some pretty juicy details about Steve Banta resigning from his high paying gig at the helm of Valley Metro. At first, it was just time for him to find a new position. He had enjoyed his time in Arizona but was ready for a new challenge. Soon after that, things got testy. We started hearing that there might be more to the story. Since then, there have been many accusations, a ton of fingers pointed and a bunch of lawyers and bureaucrats talking about financial missteps within our transit authority. Instead of Banta deciding to leave, he was booted out the door and has been accused of some pretty shady stuff by many of the people who had been raving fans of his. My, how times can quickly change…
The stories have all kinds of interesting tidbits of information and countless examples of he said – she said. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of funds in question for fancy meals, swanky hotels, some booze and someone who was on a mission to rack up some serious frequent flier miles on our dime.
— RailLife (@RailLife) April 29, 2016
Former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith has been tapped as the interim CEO to replace Banta. Mr. Smith tells us that many new changes have been made to make sure one person can not have so much power in the head honcho position anymore. More oversight, more checks and balances, more reviewing of travel expenses, etc. Basically, it sounds like a lot of the high flying super cool CEO stuff is being reigned in a bit. I imagine the CEO spot still has some perks, and the pay still doesn’t exactly suck, but the microscope has been enhanced a bit.
This impending $1.65 million lawsuit should bring out even more juicy details. There will be more discussion of a supposed back-room deal by Mayor Stanton’s office that was going to allow Steve to stay on as a consultant. There will be more details about this $272,956 annuity that he feels he is owed. There will be more talk about a severance pay claim where Banta seeks $264,493 from his employer for kicking him to the curb before he thought it was time to go.
I’m pretty sure we’ll have more details soon. Grab some popcorn, this one is getting good.