Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Interim CEO: CATS missing thousands each month

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BATON ROUGE - The interim CEO of Baton Rouge's transit system revealed today thousand of dollars in fares have gone missing, and vowed to get to the bottom of what happened.

Robert Mirabito said a recent audit found a discrepancy between the amount of money reportedly collected in fares by the Capital Area Transit System each month and the amount deposited. He said it started back in July 2010 and amounted to thousands of dollars missing from each month's collections, with as much as $10,000 in one month.

Mirabito said he was told by CATS workers the discrepancies had been attributed to a software error, which he said was unacceptable. He said he plans to find out if the missing money was really due to software errors, hardware errors, or theft.

"The fareboxes are about 8 years old and the manufacturer tell us that life of the farebox should be 10. Or the third piece maybe that we have a theft situation," said Robert Mirabito.

This comes amid calls for changes in CATS leadership by both community groups and the Metro Council. Last week several council members called for the resignation of some CATS board members after they said the system failed to live up to its promise after a tax increase was passed to help fund the system. Today members of Together Baton Rouge also criticized Mirabito's leadership, saying the parish needed to hire someone with transit experience.

One board member, Montrell McCaleb, resigned last week before allegations surfaced he took CATS funds to pay personal bills. He denied the allegations.



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