Former Phoenix-area transit executive guilty of fraud finds new job
PHOENIX – A former Phoenix transit executive who pleaded guilty to fraud has been hired as a consultant for another state’s light-rail project.
One-time Valley Metro CEO Stephen Banta was named rail operations manager of Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit in North Carolina, the Durham Herald Sun reported Thursday.
The 60-year-old Banta was sentenced to probation and fined Nov. 20 for claiming thousands of dollar in personal expenses as business costs.
He was hired as an independent contractor, the newspaper reported, with his background known to his new employers.
John Tallmadge, interim light-rail project manager for GoTriangle, said the agency knew about Banta’s charges. Tallmadge called it a “nonissue” and dismissed it as “gossip.”
Banta resigned from his Phoenix job in 2015. The Arizona’s Office of the Auditor General released a report in 2016 saying Banta claimed that $32,000 in personal travel, meal and alcohol costs for him and his wife were expenses related to his work.
“We felt assured he is not in a position that any of those issues that occurred in Valley Metro were relevant to us,” Tallmadge told the newspaper.
Banta’s attorney said at the time his client admitted improperly claiming $3,200 in personal meals as business expenses.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed not to file additional charges arising out of the findings from the auditor’s report.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.