MARTA officials have suspended the department head who became the focus of a forensic audit for possible “asset misappropriation” earlier this year.
The transit agency had initially kept Assistant General Manager Ben Graham, the director of the Information Technology department, on the job during the audit. Wednesday, he was suspended with pay “as part of the ongoing audit and investigation of that department’s performance,” a MARTA statement said. He has a $140,000 a year salary.
MARTA officials were mum Thursday about the reason for the suspension.
Attempts to reach Graham for comment were unsuccessful.
Records obtained by the AJC show that Graham, 58, previously has run afoul of MARTA contracting rules, which resulted in him getting fired in 2001 when he was the manager for network engineering. MARTA records said he was terminated for repeated unauthorized procurements, despite admonishments not to do so.
Despite a recommendation at his termination that he not be rehired, MARTA made him a contract assistant general manager in 2006.
In 2007, he was promoted to assistant general manager for technology and chief information officer, according to MARTA records.
Graham is the second top-tier executive at MARTA to come under scrutiny this year. Robin Howard, assistant general manager for audit, resigned in April after being indicted on charges of embezzling as much as $50,000 from a professional association he headed in Virginia.
Howard, 45, had been at MARTA for just more than a year.