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Deja vu: News anchor fired over alleged slap in New York

New York's WPIX-TV fired reporter Vince DeMentri yesterday, after the former NBC10 anchor was charged with assaulting the limousine driver of the Bahamian United Nations ambassador Wednesday night.

DeMentri, 46, was charged Thursday with a third-degree misdemeanor after surrendering to police for allegedly slapping the driver, the New York Daily News reported.

Hurley Senanayake, 54, told police that DeMentri, a native of Philadelphia's Frankford section, struck him after the two argued over a parking space. Senanayake was treated at a hospital for a cut lip, said the New York Post, which first reported the incident.

"Vince DeMentri is no longer with the company," a WPIX spokeswoman told us last night.

"His damages in the civil suit we'll be filing just went way up," DeMentri's attorney, Joseph Tacopina, said last night when we asked for comment about DeMentri's termination. "That has not yet been determined," Tacopina said when asked if he is referring to a lawsuit against the television station or Senanayake.

The attorney maintains 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 wrote in an e-mail. "I hope the complainant has been informed of the laws of perjury."

DeMentri didn't return a request for comment.

Although DeMentri has said he's never been convicted of a crime, this is not his first brush with the law. He was arrested two days after 9/11 for impersonating a federal agent to access a secure area near Ground Zero.

He was also named by former NBC10 colleague Lori Delgado in a police report in which she alleged that he had vandalized her car and took belongings from her at the station's Bala Cynwyd studio. DeMentri and his attorney said he hadn't touched her car or taken any of her stuff.

As we reported in 2008, the pair - who were both married to other people at the time - had an affair that ended badly. Delgado resigned and DeMentri was fired from NBC10 in 2008.

DeMentri later sued the station, which eventually issued a public statement praising his work.

Click here to read our story in Saturday's Daily News.