D.A. Promises Probe Into No-Show State Worker Report - My9 New Jersey

D.A. Promises Probe Into No-Show State Worker Report

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PHILADELPHIA -

There has been a quick response to undercover video you saw Monday night on FOX.

It showed a ghost employee who was supposed to be on the job for a state representative from Philadelphia and getting paid with your tax dollars.

Now, the D.A. is stepping in.

The Philadelphia D.A., after viewing our report, says he'll move to get to the bottom of what we found in our investigation.

The reaction of first-term Philly State Rep., J.P. Miranda, when we tried to ask him about his former worker, Timothy Duckett, Jr. of Germantown, was startling.

"Representative, come on now. Wait a minute," Cole shouted, as Miranda's car pulled out into traffic and a horn blared.

Duckett, a $36,000 a year, full-time legislative assistant was supposed to be working out of Miranda's North Philly district office. But we found him laboring at a Strawberry Mansion auto repair shop on nine of the 10 days we watched him in April.

We caught-up with Duckett at the garage and asked about his job with Miranda.

"You work for him?" Cole asked.

"Yes," Duckett said.

"You full-time for him?" Cole followed-up.

"Yes," Duckett replied.

"You work there nine-to-five?" Cole pressed.

"Yes," Duckett answered.

Cole shook his head and said, "We've seen you here."

Less than 24 hours after we questioned Duckett, Miranda fired him without even looking at our surveillance video we offered to show him.

Miranda claimed he was doing his own internal probe.

We had questions for Miranda, like how did he not know – in an office of only four staffers – one was a no-show?

On the phone, the representative said he believed Duckett was doing "community outreach" work but said Duckett had not told him the truth about it.

But Miranda didn't want to talk when we showed-up.

And neither did Duckett.

"I ask that you take the camera out of my face," Duckett said.

Cole answered, "Sir, and I've said that I am on a sidewalk and I cannot do that."

"OK, you're on a sidewalk, that's not a problem," Duckett said.

"OK, but let me ask you this: Did Miranda tell you that you could be here?" Cole asked.

Now, the FOX 29 investigative report has drawn the attention of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.

"When you have employees that are working somewhere else while they're drawing a salary, that's just fundamentally wrong. It could include fraud. It could be theft," District Attorney Seth Williams said.

Williams says he'll forward our report to his newly-formed public corruption unit.

"This is something that I think is very serious, and I am going to share it with members of the Special Investigations Unit to have them review all of the evidence to see what if anything should or could be done at this point," Williams said.

Miranda did not return our calls for comment Tuesday. The Democratic Leadership in the state House says members have seen our report, and they're monitoring the situation and have no comment, for now.

Cole reports that late Tuesday afternoon the Democratic leadership issued a statement saying, "The caucus has strong protections in place to insure that staff performs duties as assigned and quickly addressed this isolated incident."

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