MTA CEO John Lieber’s Casino Investment Sparks Conflict Of Interest Debate

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John Lieber, affectionately known as “Janno,” holds the esteemed position of CEO within the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) in New York. However, his recent financial investment in a proposed casino within the city’s West Side is currently fueling controversy linked to potential conflicts of interest.

Before joining the MTA in the role of Chief Development Officer in 2017, Lieber had spent approximately 15 years serving various roles within Silverstein Properties. This real estate developer is the primary collaborator with Parx Casino’s parent company, Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, on a proposed New York casino.

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In a recent revelation, it was reported that Lieber holds a 3% stake in a plot of land where Silverstein aims to construct a new 46-story building. As of now, Lieber takes the rank of the highest-positioned government official in the state to be identified as having economic ties to a casino proposal.

Though not holding an elected position, Lieber has undeniable links to the Democratic party. His introduction to the MTA followed an appointment made by former Governor, Andrew Cuomo. His continuing tenure was cemented last year when Governor Kathy Hochul, another Democrat, made his position as CEO permanent. Lieber’s connections to the party also extend back to his advisory role within the Department of Transportation during President Bill Clinton’s administration.

Yet, there is growing concern. MTA’s Union President, John Samuelsen, argued that Lieber’s financial stake in the controversial property requires scrutiny and the hint of “self-dealing” is too palpable to be ignored.

The plot thickens with another company, Related Cos., expressing interest in developing a portion of the West Side’s Hudson Yards. Furthermore, a significant revelation was made earlier this year that revealed Lieber’s meetings with Related staffers, high-ranking MTA officials and local politicians.

The year 2025 will finally divulge New York regulators’ decision on the recipients of the three elusive casino licenses. Although Parx and Silverstein have hopes of achieving success, there’s also the compelling possibility of a different outcome, given the stiff competition among several major players.

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