Three New York transit employees converted a Grand Central Terminal storage room into a secret lounge, according to a Thursday report from the Office of the MTA Inspector General.
The hidden room featured a TV, futon, refrigerator, air mattress, and cabinets designed to hide it all.
The Metro-North Railroad suspended all three without pay, but they deny the allegations.
Three New York transit workers built a secret underground 'man cave' where they would 'hang out and get drunk,' according to a report issued Thursday by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Office of the Inspector General.
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The hidden break room in Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal contained a futon, refrigerator, microwave, air mattress, workout equipment, and a "large screen television with a streaming device," the report said.
"Many a New Yorker has fantasized about kicking back with a cold beer in a prime piece of Manhattan real estate — especially one this close to good transportation," MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pakorny said in a statement. "But few would have the chutzpah to commandeer a secret room beneath Grand Central Terminal & make it their very own man-cave, sustained with MTA resources, and maintained at our riders' expense."
Following multiple complaints, investigators initially found the lounge on August 8, 2019 in what was supposed to be a locksmith's storage room. The break room's door featured a handwritten sign that read "foreman's office."
Inside, investigators found cabinets that looked like they were meant to conceal the futon and TV. They also found a half-drunk beer in the fridge and an empty can in the garbage. Just outside the room, the report notes, sat a pull-out cot and a cabinet designed to hide it.
The report accused three Metro-North Railroad employees — a wireman, an electrical foreman, and a carpenter foreman — of using the lounge. All three denied the allegations in statements the inspector general deemed "utterly incredible."
Investigators said they found "overwhelming" proof — including datebooks, packages, and receipts — that the three workers had spent time in the room. The streaming device was registered to the electrical foreman, and the carpenter foreman's smartphone was connected to the TV via hotspot.
"The behavior described in the IG's report is outrageously inappropriate and is not consistent with Metro-North's values and the commitment that we have to providing safe, reliable and cost-efficient service to our customers," Catherine Rinaldi, Metro-North's president, said in a statement. "All three employees were immediately suspended without pay and are being disciplined in accordance with their collective bargaining agreements."
A representative for the Association of Commuter Rail Employees, which represents some Metro-North workers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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