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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

MTA Seeks Shield From Rampart Costs

May 19, 2000

LOS ANGELES — Two members of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board of directors on Thursday urged officials to take steps to insulate the transit agency from the cost of damage suits stemming the widening Rampart Division scandal at the Los Angeles Police Department.

County Supervisor Gloria Molina, chairwoman of MTA's Budget and Finance Committee, and MTA board member John Fasana expressed concern that judgments against the city of Los Angeles may drive up the cost of security provided by the LAPD on the MTA's subway trains and buses.

Fasana, a Duarte city councilman, said the MTA "should not be accountable for the wrongs" that were committed by LAPD Rampart Division officers. He said the MTA needs to make "efforts to insulate this agency from the impact of what those costs may be."

Molina predicted that the cost of security provided by the LAPD and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will continue to escalate. She warned that the MTA could wind up paying for a share of the liability costs stemming from Rampart scandal.

The committee asked the County Counsel's office to determine whether liability costs are covered by MTA's current contract with the LAPD and Sheriff's Department. The five-year contract expires at the end of June 2002.

The agency's proposed budget for the coming fiscal year calls for paying $53.6 million to the LAPD and Sheriff's Department for transit security, an increase of $7.4 million over the current year.

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