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Audit reveals inappropriate spending by former Valley Metro CEO

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Auditors with the city of Phoenix concluded that of the $477,000 paid to former Valley Metro CEO Steven Banta for travel, entertainment, and relocation expenses, $272,000 was inappropriate or unhallowed spending.

The audit was reported by the Phoenix Business Journal and reviewed the former CEO’s expenditures and reviewed staff travel and entertainment.

Banta resigned from his position in November after his excessive travel and entertainment expenses were first reported by the Arizona Republic.

According to the audit requested by Phoenix city councilwoman Thelda Williams, who is also Valley Metro rail chairwoman, it said there were deficient controls over staff-related expenditures resulting inconsistent CEO and staff non-compliance with travel and business expense policies and a misuse of funds.

The audit also showed that Banta and his wife took 56 trips at agency expense that he deemed “necessary” to sell his former home in Portland, Oregon and there was two house-hunting trips for an employee and his spouse, plus other necessary round trips between Phoenix and Portland.

The auditors also found that 21 round trips for Banta and 35 for his wife over 28 months were excessive. The audit also showed that Banta was paid close to $115,000 for additional compensation.

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