For the price of a Starbucks coffee -- $2.50 -- a veteran taxi inspector lost his $46,160-a-year job and is facing the loss of a pension worth more than $500,000, the New York Post reported Tuesday.
Taxi and Limousine Commission inspector Mark Dubose was accused of stealing loose change from a van he was impounding in Queens after he was caught in the act by a camera installed on the vehicle's windshield.
"The video evidence was indisputable and compelling," Administrative Law Judge Ingrid Addison declared in 13-page decision that recommended Dubose's firing.
Eric Sanders, Dubose's lawyer, called the decision a grave miscarriage of justice.
"He's going to risk his whole 23-year career for $2.50?" Sanders asked. "It was an innocent mistake. What ever happened to giving people the benefit of the doubt?"
Sanders said his client deposited the coins in an envelope and left it in his locker and subsequently forgot to file a voucher for the money since the amount was so inconsequential.
Dubose, who had been promoted to lieutenant inspector in 2008, could now lose his pension, worth about $25,000 a year. Over 20 years, that is a $500,000 hit. TLC officials said that if Dubose files for his pension, it would be up to the pension system whether to grant it.
Sanders plans to appeal.