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I-Team: LCTA Bus Drivers Testify July 15, 2014

Bus drivers with the L-C-T-A testified in Harrisburg today in the Ghost Riders probe. Those drivers say they were pressured by two high ranking officials to pad senior citizen ridership numbers. It was all allegedly to receive more state funding. Lead I-Team Reporter Andy Mehalshick has an i-team follow-up from district court near Harrisburg.
"LCTA bus drivers say it was common knowledge to pad senior ridership numbers. But they say in recent years they were told they could lose their jobs if they didn't "hit the button."

State prosecutors say that LCTA Executive Director Stanley Strelish and Robb Henderson, the Director of Operations at the LCTA, made it well known to drivers that unless they increase senior rider numbers - layoffs could take place. Three current drivers and one retired bus driver were subpoenaed to testify. Louis Roman, said ever since he was hired in the early 1990's that it was common practice to pad senior ridership numbers., to count riders that did not exist- so-called ghost riders. But Roman testified that starting in 2007 when Strelish took over as Executive Director, that management -in his words- "vented on drivers" to hit the button regarding Senior Citizens or the LCTA could lose state funding and drivers could lose their jobs.


Roman says he and other drivers knew it was wrong but felt the LCTA needed the revenue.


 Defense attorneys asked Roman if any of bus drivers ever complained to county officials or board members . Roman said no. Defense lawyers also raised the point that supposed threatening comments about layoffs were taken out of context-- insisting that Strelish and Henderson understood that senior ridership numbers were vital to state funding for the LCTA and that if they were not properly counted there could be lay-offs. Roman said no. Their intent was clear to all drivers.

 District Judge Dave Judy says he'll set a date for closing arguments and then make a ruling as to whether or not there is enough evidence to send Strelish and Henderson to trial.
  They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on charges.

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