MARTA CEO's assistant fired

MARTA this week fired the assistant to CEO Beverly Scott after allegations that she abused a MARTA-issued credit card, according to the agency.

The assistant, Doree Henry, joined MARTA in February 2008, three months after Scott started work there.

MARTA would not detail the allegations, saying the matter was under investigation.  "At this point, every transaction during the course of Ms. Henry's employment is being reviewed," MARTA spokesman Lyle Harris wrote in an e-mail.

Harris said the investigation was just getting under way and MARTA has not involved police.

Harris released a statement that read, "MARTA takes any allegation of impropriety involving its policies and procedures very seriously. There is an ongoing comprehensive investigation related to an allegation that an employee failed to follow the proper protocols regarding the use of an authority-issued purchase card. The employee in question has been terminated."

At a telephone listing for a Doree Henry in the Atlanta region, no one answered Friday and the voicemail box was full.

In 2006, former MARTA CEO Nathaniel Ford had to repay $1,000 in improper MARTA credit card charges.  One of his executive assistants racked up $6,000 in improper charges, including $80 at a Midtown spa.

"There’s been a pattern of [authority credit card] abuse at MARTA," said Rep. Jill Chambers (R-Atlanta), who chairs the legislative committee that deals with MARTA.  Chambers said MARTA was supposed to have put measures in place to ensure it wouldn't happen again.

An AJC article at the time said that "MARTA has stopped issuing corporate credit cards to the general manager and his team and now requires that all expenses related to the general manager be reviewed by an auditor before going to the board chairman for approval."

Harris said that "the policies and procedures regarding purchase cards will be part of the comprehensive review that has been undertaken."

Government-issued credit cards have not just been an issue at MARTA. In 2007, an audit of state agencies found widespread abuse of state-issued cards.  Prosecutors charged former university employees with running up hundreds of thousands of dollars on the government cards, for purchases including a diamond ring and a foosball table.