The Daily Journal's Ciaran McEvoy ran one of the paper's periodic updates on the epic lawsuit between the MTA and one of its subway contractors accused of overbilling — way back on the original subway project. If nothing else, it's a reminder that the path from here to a new subway line is long and fraught with unforeseeable delays and problems.
A 16th birthday is often considered to be a coming of age. But when it's taxpayer-funded litigation, the age is not so sweet.
Sixteen years ago this month, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority joined a whistle-blower lawsuit in state court against Parsons-Dillingham, a joint contractor venture that helped build the Metro Red Line subway in Los Angeles.
The county transit agency alleges Parsons-Dillingham overbilled taxpayers for its work by approximately $100 million. Parsons Corp. representatives declined to comment, but the defense denies the allegations.
Legal experts said the litigation is one of the longest in the history of the statute that governs false claims - a length of time one observer called "outrageous."
The legal saga highlights the difficulties municipalities often face when attempting to recoup taxpayer money and displays the complexities of whistle-blower cases moved from federal court to state court. But it's also the latest example of the MTA engaging in drawn-out, bitter litigation using outside counsel who bill hourly at a time of crippling budgetary issues and a sluggish economy.
The MTA and its attorneys declined to comment on the case or how much it's costing taxpayers.
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