EXCLUSIVE: Whistleblowers speak out about alleged supervisor thefts at Port Authority
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Some workers at the Port Authority say when they blew the whistle on their supervisor for stealing, they were hit with disciplinary violations.
But they're not backing down. As custodians at the bus terminal's Lost and Found, they allege their supervisor was treating the property room filled with electronics and cell phones like her own thrift store.
A Port Authority Operations Manager had little to say about allegations made to Eyewitness News by a few workers that she was taking cell phones and other items from the Lost and Found at the Authority's Bus Terminal.
Reporter: Some workers have made allegations about you.
Donna Lebourne/PA Operations Manager: ME?
Reporter: Yes, at the lost and found bus terminal.
Lebourne: No comment.
Reporter: They say you were taking items from the lost and found there. Lebourne: No comment.
Ivan Carter was the Custodian of the Bus Terminal's Lost and Found where Donna Labourne was the supervisor.
"She would take cell phones, she'll take jewelry, electronics, anything that she personally wanted, she would take," Carter said.
We obtained video of a well-stocked lost property room filled with electronics, backpacks, and luggage each carefully tag and inventoried. Carter says he got so fed up with reports of Supervisor Labourne taking things, he started documenting it and sent a list of missing items to Port Authority Police and the Inspector General.
Carter says he reporter the thefts to higher ups at the Port Authority, but their response?
Carter: "Nothing, nothing. Retaliation, write ups, suspension. I'm currently serving suspension pending termination."
Reporter: "Do you think it's a direct result?"
Carter: "Exactly, of course, no doubt."
Carter has been suspended and faces possible firing for being ''off post'' and ''refusing to assist patrons." Another Lost and Found Custodian backs Carter's allegations. Agreeing to talk only if his identity were concealed, he claims he witnessed Supervisor Labourne take property.
"A lot of high ticket items moved out of there, laptops, digital cameras, cell phones, the jewelry of course," an anonymous worker said.
When we asked how often would the supervisor come in and claim things?
Anonymous Worker: "On a monthly basis, maybe bi-monthly as soon as there was a collection in the drawers or cage, they would be collected."
Reporter: "What would she tell you why was she taking it?"
Anonymous Worker: "To charity or overseas to the gulf war soldiers."
The Port Authority's ethical guidelines state clearly that ''employees are not entitled to claim lost articles." A spokesman from the Inspector General's Office confirms "there is an on-going investigation. They are conducting an audit of books and records of the Lost and Found.... there will be arrests, if they find items were stolen."
Reporter: "Can you tell us about the Inspector General investigation? Were you taking items from the lost and found?" Why won't you explain yourself? Do you have a second please tell us your story? Did you take items from the lost and found?
About 12 weeks after, workers reported her to the Inspector General, Donna LaBourne was transferred from her job as Bus Terminal Supervisor to Supervisor of Tunnel Operations.
We should also note that the Port Authority never returned our calls about the alleged thefts.
If you have a tip about this or any other issue you'd like investigated, please give our tipline a call at 877-TIP-NEWS. You may also e-mail us at email@example.com.
port authority, investigations, jim hoffer
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