WARREN – The Fox 8 I-Team spotted a local city worker spending close to 2 hours at a restaurant when at least one city official says he should have been doing his job, earning your tax dollars.
The I-Team went to Warren after several sources called and emailed us, pictures of a city truck driven by Celeste DiVieste sitting in the parking lot at a local restaurant for possibly hours on several different days. Some of the pictures were taken last year, some in April and May of this year.
“I have heard about it from old guys that have breakfast over at McDonald’s across the street and they asked why is there a city truck there for hours,” said Warren Councilman John Brown.
Warren City Law Director Greg Hicks says DiVieste is supposed to be mowing lawns as well as performing other city operation duties.
“We have heard about this for years and basically, it’s been widespread knowledge that this activity has been going on,” said Hicks. “I have gotten these calls too. The problem is his supervisors are all family members and I didn’t feel anything would have been done.”
Hicks said since the I-Team has video, his office will look into the matter. He said city officials are also checking with nearby businesses if they have security video that would show the city truck in the parking lot on other days.
DiVieste , a city of Warren Operations worker, didn’t want to answer questions when we found that he spent about two hours inside the restaurant on May 3, when he was suppose to be working. According to his union contract he gets 30 minutes for lunch.
When he was told the I-Team saw he was in the restaurant for close to two hours, he denied it. Even when we told him we had it on video.
“No, I wasn’t” DiVieste said. “You are making stuff up.”
DiVieste also said our questions were political, because his relative, who is also his boss, Enzo Cantalamessa, was running for law director in the May primary. We decided not to run the story before the election. Cantalamessa won the election.
Cantalamessa said he was unable to talk to us on camera but texted us the following statement.
“If you have video or other evidence showing what you describe, please forward it to me,” Cantalamessa stated in his text. “The matter will be investigated, a hearing will be held, and discipline issued if warranted as per city policies and the AFSCME Local 74 Collective Bargaining Agreement. ”
The I-Team obtained DiVieste’s time card report from May 3, which shows he worked from 6:33 a.m. until 2:02 p.m. His time cards show he normally works until 3 p.m. but took an hour of time coming.
Hicks says it appears DiVieste still got paid for 8 hours .
“His time card shows he left early that day, at the end of the day, he didn’t take time coming during the middle of the day when he was at the restaurant because he would have had to clock out, and clock back in , and he wouldn’t have been able to drive the city truck,” Hicks said. “He is not permitted to use the city truck for private business.”
Brown said he is glad the matter is being investigated.
“We have a lot of hard working, good city workers here and my concern is a guy like this that is taking advantage ,” Brown said. “Most of our employees are great and trying to do a good job.”