CEO Wilson to leave METRO Friday

May 4, 2010 4:46:02 PM PDT
He's been the center of a scandal involving alleged misuse of money and document shredding. Now, there's talk that METRO's president is on the way out.

METRO CEO Frank Wilson could be out of a job. We've learned the METRO board is working to remove Wilson by the end of the week.

Multiple sources have told ABC13 that it looks like Mayor Annise Parker will be able to keep one of her campaign promises and that is the embattled Wilson will be resigning Friday. Former city controller George Greanias will temporarily replace Wilson as the head of the transit board.

Wilson's speculated resignation comes on the heels of complaints that METRO has not been transparent with the community in its effort to build five new rail lines.

Over the past few months, Wilson had been under investigation over allegations he used public money to further a personal relationship with his chief of staff. An independent firm hired by the City of Houston later cleared Wilson of any wrongdoing after conducting a limited-scope investigation.

However, Wilson also has been scrutinized over allegations that documents were improperly retained at METRO. There are allegations that certain employees may have shredded those documents.

Parker entrusted five new board members with the ability to try to get rid of Wilson, but that has proved to be more complicated than expected.

Now multiple sources said that after a lot of negotiations and meetings, Wilson will finally be gone.

At least one council member says this is a day she's been looking forward to.

"We cut bus lines to try to drive the rail ridership, and they basically, in my opinion, just killed transportation that was effective," City Council Member Jolanda Jones said. "We needed to clean house, and I'm glad that house is being cleaned. We have five new board members I'm thankful for."

The METRO board called a meeting for 2pm Friday to rubber stamp the resignation of Wilson.

At this point, it's still unclear what the board will have to pay Wilson, if anything.

Sources said that the board doesn't want to pay a "golden parachute" to Wilson and that has been the sticking point, but it's apparently been worked out.

In addition, Mayor Parker is meeting with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who is here in Houston, and this resignation will no doubt be the topic of this private meeting Tuesday evening.

We've also learned a number of other top executives are on their way out, too, although they're trying to hang on as long as possible.


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