Rowan, second in command to MARTA General Manager Callie Greenwood, said he was fired with no given cause on Jan. 5, 2023.
“Mr. Rowan’s principal role at MARTA was to remedy the implementation of ‘More MARTA,’ a voter-approved initiative that was funded by a sales tax and was designed to improve the public transportation infrastructure in metropolitan Atlanta,” the suit says. “The More MARTA capital program had not broken ground on a single construction project after nearly seven years of sales tax collection. It was significantly over budget and behind schedule.”
Rowan alleges that Carrie Rocha worked as a third-party consultant overseeing the costs and schedules of 17 projects funded by More MARTA, and kept her own spreadsheet on project costs with different numbers than in the department’s official records. It was her private version that went to Atlanta and other stakeholders, according to the suit.
“In one instance, Mr. Rowan discovered a discrepancy of roughly $6 million between the two sets of records on a monthly financial report to be provided to the City of Atlanta,” the suit says.
He also alleges “wasteful spending” in a contract with engineering consultants HNTB.
“In Mr. Rowan’s experience, consultants in the construction space often overcharged for their services,” the suit says.
Rocha wouldn’t give him HNTB’s invoices, but Rowan found a financial report showing a $3 million charge for planning the renovation of the Bankhead transit station, he said. That was 10% of the total project cost, which Rowan said was “exorbitantly high.”
A later proposal from HNTB would charge $9 million for the same work, according to the suit.
Rowan asserts several current or former MARTA executives used to work for HNTB, and so had a conflict of interest.
Rowan said he was scheduled to meet Jan. 5, 2023, with MARTA General Manager Callie Greenwood to discuss his findings and ask for Rocha’s consulting job to be terminated. Instead, Greenwood fired Rowan that day.
“The only explanation that Mr. Greenwood gave was that MARTA wanted to go in a ‘different direction,’” the suit says.