New York TV station WPIX fired Vince DeMentri on Friday, two days after he was accused of slapping a diplomat's limo driver in New York City on Wednesday.
DeMentri, 46, joined the station on March 24. He had quit his anchoring job at a station in Providence, R.I., to take the job in New York, ostensibly to be closer to his daughter, who lives with his ex in New Jersey.
Earlier in the day, DeMentri's defense attorney Joe Tacopina called the road-rage situation a "money play."
The New York Post and New York Daily News reported that DeMentri was in his Audi at Third Avenue and 41st Street when he tried to shoo chauffeur Hurley Senanayake from a press parking zone. Sri Lankan-born Senanayake, who was waiting for Bahama's ambassador, told New York police that a man, later identified as DeMentri, slapped him across the face. Senanayake was treated at a hospital. DeMentri was ticketed for third-degree assault. The Post reported that Senanayake's relatives had said his arm was numb after the incident.
Tacopina said the allegations are false. "This is a money play as evidenced by the fact that the complainant is claiming his arm is numb based on a claim that Vince 'slapped' him in the face," Tacopina told me. "I hope the complainant has been informed of the laws of perjury."
Friday night, Tacopina told me that he was preparing a civil suit but would not identify the potential defendant or defendants.
I have left messages with Senanayake to seek his side of the story.
The papers dutifully report DeMentri's colorful past. He and NBC10 parted company in summer 2008 over accusations that someone had keyed his onetime colleague/paramour Lori Delgado's car. (Previous story.)