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Philadelphia Official Fired For Accepting Unauthorized Gifts From Vendor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A high level city worker has been axed after he was found accepting gifts — including iPods and designer bags — from a vendor.

Joseph James, the city’s deputy chief information officer, has been fired for allegedly accepting gifts, meals, and $48,000 worth of items through a rewards program.

City inspector-general Amy Kurland says James, along with a co-worker who later retired, set up a Verizon Rewards account, then cashed in rewards points for things that would never be needed for city business:

“Numerous gift cards from Macy’s, from Barnes and Noble, iPods, Tumi luggage, a Bose sound system.”

Another current city worker who reported to James has been demoted.

Verizon has a contract with the city.  Kurland says the matter has been referred to the offices of the district attorney, the US attorney, and the city ethics board.

A spokesman for Verizon says the company cooperated fully with the inspector-general’s probe.   As a result of the findings, he says, the firm has replaced the entire sales team dealing with the City of Philadelphia, terminated one worker, and disciplined some others.  Enhanced ethics training has also been added, the spokesman said.

Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio 1060

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  • sammysamples

    Gee, a city employee taking a bribe. How surprising. I like the part about Verizon replacing their whole sales team. Guess they’ll put some better ones in there who wont get caught next time.

  • Brianna

    This is false and an assassination of this man’s character. I don’t know who Mr. Mike Dunn’s source(s) is/are for this story but he was truly misinformed about this situation. Its sad to see or hear such slander being placed upon good people.

    • City worker

      Joseph James and his crew are guilty of a whole lot more – they just got caught THIS time…I worked for him!!!!

  • CJ

    what he did was stupid, but how is this different from say a person, traveling for business, the travel paid for by the business, and then the member getting frequent flyer miles and using them for personal vacations? That is not illegal…same sort of concept…

    • Bill

      It’s illegal if you work for Federal, state, or local government like this guy did.

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