From Drug Dealer To Recycling King

It turns out that Totes McGoats has a checkered past – as a heroin dealer.

The mysterious man tapped to wear the Totes McGoats headwear last week to promote recycling in the city of Niagara Falls was James L. Dolson, 50. Dolson pleaded guilty on June 24, 2014, to third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for selling heroin out of his car to an undercover informant. He was arrested on Dec. 13, 2014, at 68th Street and Buffalo Avenue in Niagara Falls and sentenced to the diversion program, which reduced the felony charge to a misdemeanor if he completed the court-supervised program.

Contacted Friday, Dolson admitted that when he was charged last year, he was in a low place in his life, after his brother died. But he said he has been turning his life around and is both embarrassed for his family and upset to have to deal with the attention that serving as the mascot is bound to bring him.

“I took the plea to have a chance,” Dolson said. “I thought I was doing good. I’m trying to clean up trash, and now I am being labeled like garbage.”

The Totes McGoats campaign, which features a man wearing a goat mask that some had called “terrifying,” proved to be a hit on social media last week when it was announced by the city. The plan was to use the goat as a symbol for Niagara Falls’ new recycling program and raise awareness about its new recycling totes.

Dolson volunteered his own time to dress up in the mascot costume, but no one had any idea it would end up attracting national attention.

“I was just trying to make a difference,” said Dolson, who said he will graduate from the diversion program on Dec. 3.

Brook F. D’Angelo, director of the city’s Solid Waste Education and Enforcement Team or SWEET, who created the mascot, said last week that the strange name and wild mask were designed to appeal to the millennial generation, not young children.

Christopher Mazur, the city’s deputy corporation counsel, confirmed Dolson worked for the SWEET Team and had worn the mask. He also said Dolson’s conviction was public record, and he was not working for the city at the time of his arrest.

According to public records, Dolson had worked for the city in the past as a seasonal worker for the Impact Team, which cleans up the streets. Mazur said he was just hired full-time earlier this month to work for SWEET as a solid waste enforcement officer. His job is to educate people on disposal and recycling under the new totes system.

Both Mazur and Dyster said under state law the city is not allowed to discriminate by refusing to hire someone with a criminal conviction.

“He wasn’t hired to be the goat – Totes McGoats. He was hired for the SWEET team,” Mazur said. “It just happened that on that day they got him to be in the suit. It’s not like he’s the one that always will be doing that.”

Dyster called the headwear a prop and said the outreach to younger children would be a softer, cartoon character.

He said the person behind the mask doesn’t speak or even walk around without being accompanied by someone and would not have a role interacting with school kids as Totes McGoats, but he said understands people may have concerns.

Dyster noted that city programs hire many people with drug convictions. “We hire people without discriminating,” he said. “Someone has to. If the City of Niagara Falls wasn’t willing to hire people who have had drug convictions, where would they ever go?”

Via. Buffalo News.

From Drug Dealer To Recycling King From Drug Dealer To Recycling King Reviewed by JavarisIsOnMars on 3:29:00 PM Rating: 5

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