We have an update on Island Drive resident Dale Hemmerdinger, the multimillionaire chairman of the MTA and his wife Elizabeth Hemmerdinger. We reported earlier this month that the two were enjoying a lifetime of free Metro North train fares and EZPass bridge and tunnel fares, while the rest of us fork over for a fragrant (read: pee smell) commute.
Thanks to an avalanche of reporting from Daily News reporter Pete Donohue, and a threatened lawsuit by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, it looks like the MTA board will vote themselves off the island this Wednesday by eliminating the lifetime freebie and paying for the fragrance (read: commute) like the rest of us.
But not before a couple jaw dropping comments about all those little people, er, I mean, customers.
First, Hemmerdinger’s vice chair David Mack admitted he would not even use MTA trains unless they were free. Reported the Daily News:
""Why should I ride and inconvenience myself when I can ride in a car?" asked David Mack, vice chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, according to sources who overheard his comments at MTA headquarters."
And then Rye’s own Hemmerdinger, according to the Daily News:
"The proposal [to terminate the freebie] was put forth by MTA Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger, but behind the scenes Friday, he called the recent spate of news reports on the freebies – and pay hikes to the cash-strapped authority’s top executive – nothing more than "nonsense stories."
The system has never functioned so well and riders – who are getting a bargain – have never been safer or more satisfied, Hemmerdinger wrote in an e-mail sent to a top aide to Gov. Paterson, MTA board members and staffers.
"The politicians and press are focusing on little issues," the wealthy developer wrote. "So any help you can give us to get the real story out rather the current focus on the truly Insignificant issues would be great."
Nonsense? Never more satisfied? Little issues? Truly insignificant?
Just bring $205 for your monthly pass. I’ll save you a seat. A really, really soft seat by the bathroom. On a hot day when you guys are short a train car or two. You’ll be completely satisfied. Or at least I will…