LATS probe from 2013 still underway
MOUNT CARMEL - A criminal investigation into the former operations of the Lower Anthracite Transportation Systems (LATS) that began more than a year ago is still not complete.
Borough police Chief Todd Owens said Friday the investigation into how inflated numbers and budgetary discrepancies occurred is ongoing.
"It's still being investigated," said Owens. "It's still an open case involving outside agencies and I'm not going to comment any further just for the integrity of the case."
The Mount Carmel borough council requested the investigation in May 2013 in an attempt to uncover how the operations and management of former subcontractor King Coal Tours led to billing discrepancies that included charges for fuel that is not used in the LATS buses and for tires and parts that don't fit the buses.
A letter from Toby L. Fauver, PennDOT deputy secretary, dated Tuesday notified the borough that it will lose $263,509 in funding for the 2014-15 LATS operations to repay the state for extra money received during fiscal years 2005-06 to 2010-11.
The money includes a 25 percent penalty imposed on the extra money received during six years of "overstated" senior citizen ridership numbers.
In an email Thursday, PennDOT Acting Press Secretary Rich Kirkpatrick said he cannot comment on King Coal or on the LATS budget issues because the matter is still under investigation.
Tony Matulewicz indicated Thursday he is interested in finding where the money paid to King Coal went.
Matulewicz also said he could not comment on whether or not the borough council will attempt to recuperate the lost grant funds from King Coal through legal action.