Philadelphia has fired one employee and demoted another for accepting free meals from city contractors.
Inspector General Amy Kurland says Joe James, the city’s deputy chief information officer, and city worker Concetta Pearson along with former employee Frank Punzo accepted meals and gifts from vendors.
“Joe James accepted approximately 39 meals; Concetta Pearson accepted only a few meals; and Frank Punzo accepted about 120-some business meals as well,” Kurland said.
Kurland says James and Punzo also used city purchases to earn reward points with Verizon.
They “opened a rewards account like this on behalf of the city but spent all of the points on things that were not necessarily for the benefit of the city,” she said.
Punzo now works for Verizon. James has been fired while Pearson has been demoted and given a 20-day suspension. The case has also been turned over to the city district attorney and federal authorities for review.