RIPTA chairman steps down amid lawsuit

    Wayne Kezirian (WJAR File Photo)

    The chairman of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority board has announced he is resigning amid conflict of interest concerns.

    The Providence Journal reported that Wayne Kezirian told fellow board members he is stepping down Tuesday.

    Kezirian is the general counsel for Paolino Properties, which is suing the bus agency over projects in downtown Providence. The lawsuit said the projects will hurt property values.

    Kezirian had been recusing himself from board discussions on matters related to downtown bus service.

    He declined to discuss his decision to step down, but RIPTA CEO Scott Avedisian said Kezirian previously told him he wanted to avoid becoming a distraction.

    Gov. Gina Raimondo is responsible for naming a new board member, who needs to be confirmed by the state Senate.

    The board elects its chairman.

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