BROOKLYN, NY – The Appellate Division, Second Department today issued an order denying Mayor Richard W. Thomas’ motion to appeal the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by Justice Gerald E. Loehr of Westchester County Supreme Court relating to the Mayor’s activities at Memorial Field. The entire restraining order was left intact, and the motion to vacate the order was dismissed.
The restraining order, secured by the City Council of Mount Vernon, keeps the status quo and continues to prohibit Mayor Thomas and his administration from performing any activity at the Memorial Field site. Since the issuance of the restraining order, the City Council has brokered a solution with Westchester County to take over the renovation, supervised the recommencement of the remediation activities, and ensured all work is being done pursuant to court supervision.
For those keeping score, allow us to explain how we got here. This isn’t the first failed attempt by the The Thomas Administration. Through counsel, Mayor Thomas attempted to have the temporary restraining order issued by the Westchester Supreme Court regarding activities at Memorial Field vacated by the Appellate Division, Second Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Thursday. July 26th. Associate Justice Valerie Brathwaite-Nelson denied the Mayor’s request and kept the temporary restraining order in place, without modification. The Mayor appealed the order again to no avail.
The City Council were awarded the TRO by Judge George E. Fufidio, Jr. Friday, June 8th against the City of Mount Vernon, Mayor Richard W. Thomas, and City Comptroller Deborah Reynolds, from doing further work at Memorial Field and additional demolition at the Mount Vernon Tennis Center, halting all activity at the Memorial Field site indefinitely. They argued that the Thomas administration has consistently failed to followed legal procedures, has squandered taxpayer resources, and has destroyed City assets in violation of the City Charter – all in connection with the Memorial Field project.
State Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow stated in an strongly-worded letter, to Westchester County Executive George Latimer on Monday, August 6th, that Mayor Thomas will have no access to the funds allocated to the renovation of Memorial Field by the State of New York. Assemblyman Pretlow indicated in his important letter that the earmarked funds will still be available for the renovation of Memorial Field, so long as that renovation is conducted by the County of Westchester.
This Monday, City Council unanimously approved the amendment to the Inter-Municipality Agreement, authorizing the County to take over and complete the renovation of Memorial Field.
“The Appellate Division recognized Mayor Thomas’ time-wasting appeal for what it was and rejected it accordingly,” said Councilman André Wallace tells Black Westchester. “Our attorneys have done a great job to keep the TRO in place while we negotiated a resolution with the County. We will now see some real progress at Memorial Field.”
Councilman Marcus A. Griffith agrees and feels the Appellate Court has vindicated the Council, after the mayor has been telling the public, it’s the Council that is preventing the renovation of the dilapidated field, for months.
“This is just more evidence how the failed strategies of Mayor Thomas cost the Mount Vernon taxpayers dearly,” said Councilman Griffith shares with Black Westchester. “The appeals court has vindicated the Council’s efforts to keep the Mayor from running roughshod over the City Charter, and we are obviously very happy about that.
The City Council was represented at the Appellate Division by Jeffrey L. Wilson, Esq. and Henry Chan, Esq. of Wilson & Chan, LLP.