In 2015, Liang Zhang earned more than $270,000 from his job cleaning the metro station in San Francisco. When investigators took a look at his time card, they could not deny that he worked 17-hour days 18 days in a row. He was tired and he had shown up for work.
But when these authorities investigated a little closer, they discovered the truth. Not only had Zhang clocked $160,000 worth of overtime pay at the taxpayers’ expense, he would take hours-long breaks while on the clock, basically getting paid for his beauty rest.
On one such occasion, Zhang spent two uninterrupted hours sleeping in the broom closet while the clock ticket away time-and-a-half for the greedy municipal worker.
Learn more about how San Francisco plans on punishing Zhang, if they do at all…
Zhang is hired by the San Francisco’s Power Street station to clean the platforms and facilities for $57,945 per year. But when Transparent California dug into the records, they found that Zhang made an additional $162,050 in overtime pay – this brought his total compensation, including benefits to a staggering $271,243…
Upon first glance, Zhang’s timecards seemed legitimate. He had clocked in and worked the days he said he had. Most days in 2015 he worked overtime.
BART paid Zhang for working 17-hour days for 18 days straight in July 2015, according to the KVTU.
Because Zhang has benefits, he used his vacation and sick days to get paid for 365 days that year.
But when the bosses were not too happy with the humongous pay check, they hired a team of investigators to look into Mr. Zhang’s activity. They quickly discovered that he was stealing from San Francisco.
Over just a two-day period, CCTV footage from BART’s security cameras showed Zhang disappearing into a storage closet for long stretches of time. On the first day, he visited the closet twice. The first time for 54 minutes and the second for 90 minutes. The second day, he spent 90 minutes napping and then 78 minutes later that same evening on the same shift.
This is the first time Zhang has been investigated despite earning over $705,000 between 2012 and 2015.
“It’s absolutely outrageous,” Robert Fellner, with Transparent California, told KTVU. “For Janitors that’s obscene! It’s unconscionable!”
But BART’s Chief Transportation Officer Roy Aguilera offers an explanation. Because Zhang never refuses extra work and picks up any overtime hours offered, he has the potential to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And Zhang’s work is hard. A large homeless population resides in Powell Street Station – that means Zhang needs to clean up their urine, feces, and drug needles.
“People are not raising their hands and saying, ‘I want some of that overtime.’ Mr. Zhang has said yes, he’s worked hard, he’s completed his assignments, so I stand by the work he’s done,” Aguilera told KTVU.
Zhang is not the only janitor getting rich from BART. 49 other custodians earned more than $100,000 in 2015.
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