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Mystery Surrounds Suspension Of Denver's Top Parking Enforcer

By Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4) - The Denver Public Works Department has placed its manager of enforcement and meter operations, Dominic Vaiana, on paid investigatory leave with little explanation to employees or the public.

On Monday, May 23, a supervisor wrote Vaiana, "This is official notification that you are being placed on investigatory leave with pay effective immediately, and until further notice."

Dominic Vaiana
Dominic Vaiana (credit: CBS)

Vaiana is the second highest ranking administrator in the Right of Way Enforcement Division.

When CBS4 heard from city sources about the suspension and began making inquiries, Public Works refused to even reveal Vaiana's job status.

"Public Works declines to discuss further," wrote department spokesperson Nancy Kuhn when CBS4 sought clarification and information on May 25. She said there was no criminal investigation.

Vaiana did not respond to multiple inquiries from CBS4 about why he was suspended. When a reporter knocked on his door Tuesday afternoon Vaiana made eye contact but then ducked into another room and refused to answer his door.

The Public Works and Right of Way Enforcement Division only revealed Vaiana's suspension after CBS4 filed a Colorado Open Records Act request. That request yielded an email from Tina Scardina, the director of Right of Way Enforcement, to staff members.

"If anyone on your staff asks about this, all that any of us can say is that he's on investigatory leave," wrote Scardina. "I'm unable to say very much about this situation to protect the due process."

Other emails obtained by CBS4 show Public Works officials expressed great urgency in cutting Vaiana off from his city email and other city resources. On the afternoon Vaiana was placed on leave, Scardina emailed other administrators complaining that Vaina's electronic access had not been cut off quickly enough.

Vaiana Suspended PKG.tran7fer
(credit: CBS)

"It is critical that this ... be completed asap per city attorney's office," wrote Scardina. "It is time sensitive and should have occurred at 11:15 this morning. It hasn't been done yet! All access by Dominic on VPN and any other mechanism to access city electronic resources and all related work files, etc. should have been suspended 4 hours ago. All incoming emails and phone calls should come to me…"

By the following day, an employee of the city's technology services division responded that "We have copied all of Vaiana's H: drive data to a folder on Tina's H: drive … We have been extracting his live email all morning and have just completed."

Administrators changed his phone password and disabled his access to his computer, email and an electronic timecard system.

As mystery continues to surround the suspension of Denver's top parking enforcer, his bosses remain tight lipped.

".. I can't elaborate," wrote Nancy Kuhn in an email to CBS4 on Monday.

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.

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