Officials at Madison Square Garden have taken out a $150,000- a-year insurance policy to make sure they’re getting their mass-transit needs met: the head of the MTA sits on their board of directors.
Politico’s Dana Rubinstein broke the story that Joe Lhota – who chairs the Metropolitan Transportation Authority – is also a member of the board at MSG, where he once worked as a high-level executive.
Give MSG honcho James Dolan some credit for having a politically-connected guy on his board – and give Lhota and Governor Cuomo each a demerit for allowing such a blatant conflict of interest to exist.
A smart and savvy veteran of public service, Lhota should know better than to take money from a company that’s sitting smack dab in the middle of a mass-transit hub while also helping decide mass-transit policy.
A spokesman for Governor Cuomo notes that Lhota will recuse himself from any decisions involving Penn Station. But that’s like saying someone in charge of Midtown redevelopment won’t make any decisions about Times Square.
As Rubinstein points out, Lhota is already being stretched thin by his full-time job at NYU Langone Health, which pays him $1.6 million a year while he essentially works for free at the MTA. It would be smart for him to walk away from Madison Square Garden while deciding how the rest of us ride to work.