A Long Island Rail Road surfacing foreman has been suspended along with two other grifting supervisors after the three men were caught lounging at home, shopping and even gambling on the MTA’s dime, the MTA inspector general said.
The three foremen — Dallas Bazemore, Claude Birong and Mark Speruta — each raked in more than $200,000 in annual OT pay from 2018 to 2020, the IG said. They received 30-day suspensions without pay and were forced to pay back a combined $11,625.
“These managers found a way to double their salaries through overtime, and yet we caught them doing everything from shopping and gambling, to carpooling their kids and doing work around the house — all on the taxpayer’s dime,” Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny said in a statement accompanying new reports on the men’s actions.
Bazemore, 47, of Laurelton, who signed his own timesheets, was caught playing hooky by IG investigators on 10 occasions over six months in 2019, worth $1,131 in “unauthorized” pay, the report said.
His financial and credit card records, meanwhile, showed that he had been shopping at Macy’s while collecting wages on nine occasions between 2017 and 2018 and gambling at Atlantic City’s Tropicana Casino on two dates in 2019 when he was collecting sick pay.
Birong and Speruta, also foremen who approved their own time sheets, were clocked playing hooky by probers on eight and four occasions, respectively, the IG report said.
Their 30-day suspensions were worth $16,000, and they agreed to pay back over $2,600 each in restitution. Bazemore’s 30-day suspension cost him $8,100.
None of the three men could be reached for comment. All three were among the “high-roller” overtime kings exposed by The Post in 2019 for their outrageous 2018 salaries.
Birong earned $287,824 in 2018 — off a base salary of just $78,34. Speruta earned nearly $183,000 in extra pay on top of a base salary of $81,343.
Bazemore earned $362,799 in 2018 — including $274,291 from OT.
An MTA spokesman called the men’s action “unacceptable.”
“The new leadership at the MTA is working with our labor partners to build off of recently implemented measures that have resulted in annual overtime expenditures dropping by hundreds of millions of dollars despite the historic amount of work being completed,” said the spokesman, Aaron Donovan.
The IG’s announcement of disciplinary action against Bazemore, Birong and Speruta comes days after LIRR track foreman John Nugent was sentenced to five months in prison for similar actions.
Nugent and four others were charged with conspiracy to commit federal program fraud for maintaining an “informal rotation” where one person would leave and the rest of the group would cover for him.
The crew were arrested by the feds last year after law enforcement investigators uncovered the overtime conspiracy with help from the MTA Inspector General’s Office.
In a series of stories in 2019, The Post reported Caputo reigned as the MTA’s “overtime king,” who raked in $344,147 in extra income in 2018.
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