WARREN, Ohio -- An operations worker for Warren has been suspended for 40 days without pay following a FOX 8 I-TEAM investigation.
The discipline was issued to Celestino DiVieste this week by Enzo Cantalamessa, the city's Director of Public Service and Safety. Cantalamessa is also DiVieste's nephew.
The I-TEAM received several tips about DiVieste spending several hours at a restaurant during work hours.
On May 3, we went out to Warren and saw DiVieste pull into the restaurant parking lot in a city truck at 10:45 a.m. He moved the truck from the back of the parking lot to the side of the restaurant around 11:30 a.m. and then left the business around 12:30 p.m.
The I-TEAM confronted him and he denied being there longer than 30 minutes, even when we told him we had him on video.
"You're making things up," DiVieste said at the time.
Cantalamessa wrote in the disciplinary letter to DiVieste that "evidence established that you were at Sorrento's Restaurant from approximately 10:45 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.."
The letter further stated that DiVieste drove a city owned vehicle to the restaurant to conduct personal business while on the city's payroll.
"While generally the city follows progressive discipline, in this case, the violations are serious and warrant significant penalty," DiVieste stated in the letter. "I feel it necessary to send a strong message to all city employees that this conduct is unacceptable."
The I-TEAM went to city hall on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. to discuss the case with Cantalamessa and Mayor Doug Franklin. We pressed the intercom button several times and no one answered. A sign on the door indicated staff would return at 1:00 p.m.
We also texted both of them. Cantalamessa responded and said he can't discuss the case because DiVieste may appeal.
Franklin did not return our message.
Several city leaders, including Law Director Greg Hicks and Councilman John Brown said they have heard about DiVieste being at the restaurant for hours and that it had been going on for years. Brown said he told city officials last year.
Brown said he is satisfied with the discipline.
"My concern is we have a lot of good employees in the City of Warren that help me all the time in my ward and I just don't want them to get a black eye out of this," Brown said.