BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - For the second time in two years, city worker James Dempsey is in trouble.
If his name sounds familiar, it's because back in 2011, Dempsey was arrested after officers say they found cocaine residue in a city van he was driving for a west side community center. Those charges were eventually dismissed.
Now Dempsey is denying new accusations claiming he ripped off the city. As part of his job in the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, Dempsey is in charge of issuing permits for city permits at parks and other facilities. He oversees paperwork and collects the fees, and that's what has him in hot water.
"I think it's a shame that they keep setting me up like this to fail," Dempsey said.
City officials say his subpar work issuing permits for baseball diamonds is costing City Hall money.
"They are accusing me of not charging enough money for athletic field permits for adult leagues," he explained.
The implication, though, from sources at City Hall is that Dempsey is mishandling city funds.
Dempsey argued, "I made photocopies of every check that I was given, every permit that I was given, every permit that I turned into the commissioner to sign. He received every one of them, signed them, and then they were mailed out in the mail."
The recreation instructor suspects his latest troubles stem from his arrest two years ago, when he was charged with possession of a controlled substance.and a traffic violation while driving a city van for the Asarese-Matters Community Center, a van that is used to transport children.
Dempsey was suspended, but the charges were eventually dismissed and he got his job back. With these new accusations surfacing, he has again been suspended, and this time without pay.
"I think they just kept a grudge on me, and were looking, whether they like me or not, I think they were looking for a reason to go after me," Dempsey said.
City officials declined to comment on this case other than to state they are seeking to terminate Dempsey's employment. He has a hearing on the charges next week.
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