Port Authority accused of throwing out lost passports

October 7, 2013 3:20:10 PM PDT
Losing your passport can be a travel nightmare, but imagine if the person who found it was ordered to throw it out?

The Port Authority is accused of trashing dozens of passports discovered by workers.

It's hard to believe that an agency attacked twice by terrorists would be so careless with these most important travel documents.

But that's exactly what happened according to several Port Authority workers we spoke to. One of them agreeed to blow the whistle on camera.

Every year, dozens of passports are lost or left behind by passengers at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. You'd think these most valued of travel documents would be protected and returned to their owner but this former custodian at the Port Authority Lost and Found says that's not the case.

"Supervisor told me to put the passports in a box, I said okay, take the box, okay and throw the box in the garbage," said PA custodian Ivan Carter.

In an earlier Eyewitness News Investigation, Ivan Carter blew the whistle on supervisors who he claimed treated the bus terminal's lost and found like their own thrift store, taking cell phones, cameras, and computers on a regular basis. He says retaliation against him was swift.

"They want to terminate me. They'll make up anything they say he's this, he's that, he's insubordinate, he's doing this, he's doing that, but the one thing I am doing is trying to protect the public and their property," said Carter.

And two months ago, Carter was fired for insubordination. Meanwhile, the Port Authority Inspector General is now investigating Carter's allegations of lost passports being tossed out, something that, if true, would pose a serious security risk.

"In this age of terrorism that we're living in it's just like inviting people that want to do harm to this country or any country just here just go to the garbage here at the Port Authority bus terminal and get your passports. You don't have to sneak into the country, you can walk right in the front door" Carter said.

The Port Authority Office of Inspector General confirms they have looked into the lost passport allegations.

A spokesman tells us the I-G found there were "inadequate procedures in place" to deal with lost passports.

He says the Port Authority now either returns the passports to the owners or mails the documents to the appropriate embassies. The spokesman adding, " No passports will be destroyed."


If you have a tip about this or any other issue you'd like investigated, please give our tipline a call at 877-TIP-NEWS. You may also e-mail us at the.investigators@abc.com.

Follow Jim Hoffer on Twitter at twitter.com/nycinvestigates and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimhoffer.wabc

Follow Sarah Wallace on Twitter at twitter.com/sarahwallacetv and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sarahwallace.wabc