On Day Three of the Long Island Railroad/Employee Disability Scam Scandal (LIRREDSS), federal agents raided the Westbury offices of the Railroad Retirement Board, the shady federal organization that signs off on railroad employees’ dodgy disability claims.
What a scene it must’ve been–career LIRR workers standing on line with their claims, perhaps rubbing “sore” knees and backs for effect, just as investigators burst through the doors. The NY Times reports that they left with nine file boxes and five personal computers.
The feds were good enough to alert the media, it seems. Times lensman Uli Seit has a great shot of a stone-faced fed pushing a huge dolly full of files like a freshman footballer hitting the blocking sled. Seit’s photo reveals another photographer shooting the scene from behind the agent.
[Nice to see Mitt Romney keeping busy after his failed presidential bid…click on to enlarge]
The Times says Gov. Paterson is pushing attorney general Cuomo to blow this thing wide open, and has tapped Congress in the fight as well.
The raid came two days after The New York Times reported that nearly all career employees of the railroad — from 93 percent to 97 percent of retirees every year since 2000 — retire early and soon after begin getting disability payments from the federal agency. The retirement board almost never turns down a claim, and since 2000 has paid more than a quarter of a billion dollars in disability checks to former Long Island Rail Road workers, The Times found.
Responding to the findings, Gov. David A. Paterson immediately directed the state attorney general to begin a wide-ranging inquiry into disability claims at the railroad. On Tuesday, he called on Congress to aid in that investigation.
I think the true victim in all of this, besides taxpayers like you and me and poor bastards on fixed incomes and menial wages footing the bill, are the LIRR workers with legitimate claims, and LIRR workers in general–all of whom are being besmirched by this ugly scandal. Surely plenty of them aren’t claiming fake injuries for pay, and are simply going about their jobs each day like good Americans do.
I can’t imagine LIRR president Helena Williams, who in the most recent Times article asserts that the LIRR should divorce the Railroad Retirement Board and throw its retirement business to the Social Security system, keeping her job amidst all of thus. Despite her claims that she was powerless to fight the rampant fraud going on, it happened on her watch, and it’s not hard to imagine that a phone call to the governor, attorney general or local Congressperson would’ve gotten the ball rolling on changes to an egregiously faulty system.
[image: NY Times]