Dan Gross: DeMentri spends birthday in court

Posted: March 17, 2011

FORMER NBC10 anchor Vince DeMentri spent his 47th birthday yesterday on trial in a New York courtroom for attempted assault on a limo driver.

Hurley Senanayake, 55, driver for the

Bahamian ambassador to the United Nations, testified Tuesday that DeMentri had called him the N-word before slapping him in a fight last May that started over a parking spot.

DeMentri was working for New York's WPIX/Channel 11 at the time when he was arrested for allegedly striking Senanayake.

"This is simply the weakest case I've ever been associated with," DeMentri's attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, told us yesterday, emphatically denying that his client had used the racial slur and that Senanayake had not mentioned such an allegation in any interviews or statements he gave police. "It was physically impossible for Vince to have been able to aim a punch through a partially open window," Lichtman said, echoing the testimony an eyewitness gave Tuesday. "It is the worst miscarriage of justice that I've been a part of," Lichtman said yesterday, adding that he "100 percent" expects an acquittal when the trial resumes Tuesday.

DeMentri, who grew up in Frankford, was fired by NBC10 in 2008 after a bizarre situation involving former colleague Lori Delgado. She had alleged that he vandalized her car and took belongings from her at the station's Bala Cynwyd studio. DeMentri and his then-attorney denied it. Delgado and DeMentri, both married at the time, had an affair that ended badly.

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

Bykofsky, bride divorcing

 Just shy of their fifth anniversary, Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky and wife Jennifer Graham, a former WRTI reporter who now works for Variety, the children's charity, are divorcing.

"This is a very sad outcome," said Bykofsky, 69, adding, "I wish Jenn a healthy and happy life." He declined to elaborate further.

Graham, 32, told us, "I wish Stu all the best as well." This was her first marriage, Bykofsky's third.

City settles with Hill for 15G

Columbia professor and Daily News contributor Marc Lamont Hill wrote Tuesday about a civil-rights-violation lawsuit against the Philadelphia Police Department and Officer Richard DeCoatesworth being settled in January. Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby was quoted in the paper as being disappointed that the city would settle the claim, over a traffic stop in which Hill says he was harassed and detained for no reason, before DeCoatesworth had a chance to defend himself, and mocked the city for wasting money settling. We've learned that the settlement was $15,000 which, in all honesty, sounds like less than the cost of the man-hours that the city Law Department would spend taking the case to trial. A city spokesman did not return a request for comment about the dollar amount yesterday, nor did Hill, a former Daily News Sexy Single.

Orchestra plays Gamble & Huff

The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia will pay tribute to Sound of Philadelphia pioneers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff at its Lifetime Achievement Award gala May 21 at the Westin Philadelphia. The orchestra will perform some of the Philadelphia International Records moguls' timeless tunes, and each attendee will leave with a commemorative CD of the concert. We asked Gamble yesterday if he had any particular songs that he wanted to hear the Chamber Orchestra perform. He suggested "When Will I See You Again," by the Three Degrees; Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones," and "Make the World Go Round," sung by the Stylistics and written by Thom Bell and Linda Creed.

"I'm curious to find out what songs they pick and how they use the instrumentation," Gamble told us. "It's like a classical approach to our music. It's going to be exciting."

Tickets for the event are $250 and available at chamberorchestra.org/gala or by phone at 215-545-5451 ext. 29.

Kidd Chris loses Portland gig

Former 94 WYSP morning man Kidd Chris is out of a job with yesterday's announcement that Portland's KUFO is flipping from hard rock to conservative talk. Kidd Chris had hosted mornings there since October 2009.

'YSP fired the radio host in May 2008 over a racist song performed in-studio by Lady Gash, who sang "Schwoogies" to the tune of Blondie's "Call Me."

Visit PhillyGossip.com for Dan's latest updates or follow PhillyGossip on Twitter. Have a tip? Call 215-854-5963, or e-mail grossd@phillynews.com. For recent columns, visit www.philly.com/DanGross.

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