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Ex-Valley Metro Executive Banta Gets Consulting Job With North Carolina Light Rail

Stephen Banta
Nick Blumberg/KJZZ
Stephen Banta speaks at a Valley Metro event in 2012.

A North Carolina light-rail transit project is using a consultant who pleaded guilty in September to a fraud charge linked to his work as chief executive at Valley Metro.

Stephen Banta pleaded guilty after Arizona's Office of the Auditor General released a report saying he claimed $32,000 in personal expenses were expenses related to his work. Now, he’s consulting for the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project in North Carolina, according to a report by the Herald-Sun of Durham newspaper.

The interim light rail project manager for that project said his agency knew about Banta’s charges when they hired him as a subcontractor. Banta resigned from Valley Metro in 2015.

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KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.