Indy TV Station says ITM Still Being Probed

An Indianapolis television station reported that state and federal investigators continue to probe the business dealings of the Indiana Transportation Museum.

WRTV-TV said that the investigation is focused on alleged mismanagement of money and the museum’s failure to maintain adequate records.

IndianaEarlier this week, an ITM official sent a letter to constituents saying that a Federal Railroad Administration inquiry had cleared the museum and the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority.

The letter suggested the ITM would soon resume operating excursions, which it had suspended last March after the allegations surfaced.

WRTV said that a group of seven ITM volunteers blew the whistle on the ITM board’s practices earlier this year and then were fired by the museum, an action acknowledged by ITM chairman Indiana Transportation Museum Chairman Jeffrey S. Kehler in his letter.

“We were notified in mid-March, both by an email, then by certified letter that the actions we took constituted as a hostile takeover which could not be tolerated, and it was against, in their opinion, the rules of the museum, so they had no choice but to terminate us permanently and immediately,” said Tom Nichols, a 16-year volunteer, in an interview with WRTV.

The seven volunteers outlined their allegations in a letter sent to the Indiana attorney general and to the HHPA, which owns the tracks that ITM uses.

One of the allegations was that there were discrepancies between the museum’s financial reports and what the dispatcher’s reports showed in terms of ridership. WRTV said the AG’s office has begun an investigation.

In his letter Kehler described the allegations as untrue. An HHPA official told WRTV that it would reopen its tracks to ITM trains as soon as the museum cooperates with investigators.

Trains magazine reported on Thursday that FRA officials have yet to comment on the investigation.

The magazine said that four independent investigations are examining museum’s actions.

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