New Report Details BART Chief Negotiator Thomas Hock’s Extravagant Meals and Luxurious Travel Accommodations Paid on the Public’s Dime
Oakland, CA — Today a story in the San Francisco Examiner exposed that BART Management has allowed its lead negotiator, Thomas Hock, to enjoy the high life in the Bay Area paid for by taxpayers, as he drives the region into another strike. While reviewing the transit agency’s contingency plan and expenses, analysts for BART workers also found that Thomas Hock has been billing BART for first class air travel, alcohol, private town car service, and a party donation to the CEO of another transit agency in Southern California. The district is paying Hock $399,000 to negotiate a contract with BART’s two largest unions, SEIU 1021 and ATU 1555.
Analysts have found that BART has reimbursed Hock for a total of $36,172 in personal expenses, including first class air travel to his home in Cincinnati, high-end wines at trendy East Bay restaurants, like Pican and Ozumo, and a $500 ticket to a retirement party for the CEO of the Long Beach Public Transit system. Hock even charged his Wall Street Journal newspaper to BART. The report, “A Union Buster’s Guide to Travel and Good Eats on the Public’s Dime,” details how Hock has billed nearly $600 in alcohol and over $3,500 in meals to BART during his current contract.
Most public agencies prohibit expense reimbursement for alcohol and many limit air travel reimbursement to coach class tickets. BART’s own Board of Directors’ Rules state, “Reimbursement for any meal may not include the cost of alcoholic beverages.” In addition to existing policies against the personal reimbursement of alcohol to Directors, nearly all prohibit reimbursement of entertainment expenses unrelated to work on the contract.
“With ten day to go in the 60-day cooling off period, the public is finally getting a chance to see the hard reality of what we’ve seen inside the negotiations room for several months now,” said Roxanne Sanchez, President of SEIU 1021, the largest union at BART. “While to the public BART Management claims to be opposing a fair deal for workers because of concerns of cost, in private, BART Management is allowing taxpayers dollars to be squandered on alcohol, first class airfare, party tickets and even fancy restaurants by Thomas Hock, a man intent on forcing a strike.”
“It’s not fair to the riders, to the workers, or to the Bay Area,” Sanchez continued, “that BART Management is not interested in protecting the best interest of the public, but rather is interested in forcing a strike in an effort to bust the union.”