MATA working to move on following former CEO sex crime scandal

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A dark cloud sat above the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) headquarters on Sunday after state agents announced a major prostitution sting in Shelby County last week where more than 40 people were arrested, including former MATA CEO Ronald Garrison.

"I can't condone, and MATA doesn't condone this type of activity," Gary Rosenfeld told WREG.

Rosenfeld spoke about the allegations against Garrison.

"It is troubling in our society that this goes on," he said. "It is very concerning that our children are not safe."

Garrison had resigned one day before the charges against him were announced by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

He cited health issues as the reason of his resignation that was accepted by the board.

However, Rosenfeld told WREG he and the board had limited knowledge of the sex crime investigation Garrison was involved in.

Rosenfeld said he and the board decided to act on the minimal facts they had at the time instead of their emotions.

"It revolves around the fact that we did not know the status of the TBI investigation," Rosenfeld recalled. "We didn't want to make a public announcement about such a situation and jeopardize any ongoing, further investigation."

MATA is working to move past the prostitution scandal and continue its work to improve on-time performance and get the trolleys back on track by the end of the year.

"We know things weren't necessarily done correctly in the past, and we want to make sure they're correct in the future," Rosenfeld said.

The agency is also working to secure a reliable funding source from things like tax revenue instead of relying on the city to dictate its budget.

"We have continued needs to upgrade and improve our fleet. This facility has some serious structural issues," the interim CEO said.

MATA hoped the public would not allow the prostitution sting to overshadow the hard work their hundreds of employees are doing every day.