MIRAMAR, Fla. -

The Miami-Dade County Ethics Commission began investigating a county garbage employee accused of attending city meetings in Miramar when he was supposed to be at work.

A complaint made to the ethics commission alleges Billy Hardemon regularly attended Miramar city meetings with Commissioner Yvette Colbourne when he should've been working as a county garbage official.

"I've attended several city meetings," he said. "Some were during what we call normal business hours, yes."

The ethics commission asked for Miramar city records showing contact between Hardemon and city officials.

"I would take annual leave for the period of time that I was not working," said Hardemon. "I think it's a smear campaign."

In 1997, Hardemon was charged in the Operation Green Palm corruption case, accused of taking $50,000 in bribes with then-County Commissioner Roger Burke. Jurors acquitted Hardemon after a three-month trial, and he was reinstated after pleading guilty to campaign misdemeanors.

"If I had gotten $50,000, I would have went to jail. I would have been convicted," he said.

"Why should citizens trust you now?" asked Local 10's Bob Norman.

"One, Bob, I'm a Vietnam-era veteran," he replied. "I'll be damned if I'm going to let anyone treat me as if I'm guilty for something that I never did."