Last week's issue of WW included a story about the criminal record of Daniel Lee Martin, a 16-year veteran TriMet driver and current executive board member for the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757. The story raised questions about how much the agency knew about Martin’s past.
Martin (who's currently running for the local's vice presidency) told WW that TriMet knew about his criminal record, which includes convictions for second-degree sex abuse and stealing Social Security disability benefits.
TriMet officials said that at the time the agency hired Martin, TriMet had not yet begun doing routine background checks on new employees. On Tuesday, TriMet corrected the record, informing WW that background checks were conducted in 1998, but were “less robust” than those performed since 2000. TriMet spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt also said that records indicated Martin underwent a background check when he was hired.
TriMet has since released the records from Martin's 1998 background check. The record indicates that TriMet limited its search to misdemeanor and felony records in the Multnomah County Circuit Court for seven years leading up Martin’s application date in 1998. Martin’s background check came back clean.
The search didn't check Martin's record under his previous name, Daniel Lee Overby, nor did it pick up his 1985 conviction in Tillamook County to sex abuse after he admitted having sex with an underaged girl.Martin has continued to work for TriMet since 1998. In 2006, he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to illegally receiving $78,000 in Social Security disability payments for three years while employed at TriMet.