Forgery allegations prompt investigation at SA Int'l Airport

Office of Municipal Integrity investigation uncovers training discrepancies

Author: April Molina, Investigative Reporter, amolina@ksat.com
Published On: Jul 24 2012 06:27:02 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 24 2012 10:00:53 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

Michael Deleon and his co-workers play a significant role within the city airport -- monitoring all 400 security cameras and dispatch during emergencies.

"In order to be a dispatcher, you have to attend these training courses every so often," Deleon said. "That way you stay certified."

The Aviation Security Department had fallen behind on state-mandated training.

Deleon, who had not completed the courses, said he was out out of town for the last training course.

"The co-worker was observed forging my name," Deleon said.

A few days later, his co-worker, Shawnna Caruso, was under investigation by the Office of Municipal Integrity.

In a taped video confession with OMI, Caruso said, "I went ahead and marked him on the other ones, that he forgot to show he was present in class."

The investigator asked, "When you say marked him, did you sign his signature?"

Caruso responded that she did.

Of key interest to investigators was the fact that while Caruso admitted to forging Deleon's name, she began the interview with a fabricated story about tracing his name for a logo.

When investigators later interviewed Caruso's supervisor, Suzann Anderson, they heard a similar story about tracing logos, then a vague description of how the forgery occurred.

During her OMI interview, Anderson said, "I (said), 'Let's get this done. If someone can sign him in, sign him in, let's get this stuff done.'"

At no point in the interview did Anderson accept responsibility for what happened in her department, but she did resign midway through the investigation.

A few days later, investigators called Caruso back for a second interview, questioning her again about tracing a logo.

During her OMI interview, Caruso makes this confession: "Everything that was said was true, except for the part that Suzann Anderson made up on why I was tracing. But everything else was true and I am deeply sorry."

Caruso was given a 5-day suspension. Deleon said this is an injustice.

"You have an individual here who was clearly wrong, clearly in violation of policy, clearly in violation of the law and what they got in return for that violation was, in my eyes, a slap on the wrist," Deleon said.

Aviation Director Frank Miller said that based upon their investigation, he felt the appropriate action was taken.

When asked by KSAT's Defenders what it takes to get fired in that department, Miller said, "I can't answer that."

He did explain as a result of this incident, the security department is no longer in charge of ensuring mandatory training classes.

The San Antonio Police Department now handles that. He also said all employees have since completed all required training courses.

For a list of recent stories April Molina has done, click here.