Former RTA board president improperly receives $1.1 million in health benefits

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - According to an internal investigation, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's former board president received $1.1 million in healthcare benefits and unpaid premiums without paying a dime.

The RTA board voted unanimously on Tuesday to send the results of their investigation to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, the Ohio auditor and the Ohio Ethics Commission.

They also voted to deny RTA health insurance to trustees from now on.

Over 24 years, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority says George F. Dixon III, former president of the board, bilked RTA and taxpayers out of more than $1 millions over health insurance.

RTA released elements of their internal investigation, showing they combed through 24 years of payroll, human resources and accounts receivable records and miscellaneous receipts.

RTA interviewed employees, former employees and current and past board member for 50 hours.

The agency audited Dixon's computers and reviewed 7,200 paper records.

A timeline shows from 1996 to 2001, human resources sent Dixon 17 notifications he was past due on his health insurance premiums.

Over the next 17 years, human resources continued to send him letters showing "balance owed," but his health coverage continued.

By 2018, that's up to more than $132,000.

RTA paid Dixon's medical claims over five years, totaling nearly $930,000.

When you add those numbers together, plus interest, you come to the total of about $1.1 million.

Clevelanders for Public Transit say they're disappointed riders dealt with service cuts and fare increases due to budget shortfalls while Dixon was improperly paid more than one million dollars.

They're calling on the county to appoint an RTA rider to the Board of Trustees.

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