Today, a federal court judge dismissed all charges brought against Robert Kelly, the former Commissioner of Public Safety for the City of Mount Vernon, in a lawsuit filed on behalf of former Mayor Richard W. Thomas. Attorneys for former Mayor Thomas asked to have the lawsuit withdrawn after they failed to comply with providing any discovery materials to support their claims.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court on April 6, 2018, and accused Kelly and twenty-two (22) other named and unnamed defendants in a broad conspiracy to defraud the city, during a time that encompassed a period of years when Kelly was not even employed by the city. The lawsuit, as it relates to Kelly, was a punitive political measure spearheaded by Thomas seeking revenge against Kelly.
It was not coincidental that this lawsuit followed Kelly’s termination as Police Commissioner after he refused to reinstate Thomas’s brother as a city firefighter who had been convicted of selling illegal guns to the FBI. The lawsuit was designed to punish Kelly for not hiring the former Mayor’s convicted brother back as a firefighter.
Former Mayor Richard Thomas himself plead guilty to corruption-related charges just a few weeks ago on July 8, 2019, and has been forced to resign/vacate his office as Mayor because of his conviction.
Kelly represented himself in the lawsuit and the lawsuit in its entirety was dismissed by Federal District Court Judge Vincent L. Briccetti. All charges were dismissed against Kelly with prejudice. Notably,
Following the dismissal of the lawsuit Kelly stated, “Unfortunately, serving as Mayor with honesty and integrity was too big a job for a small-minded man like Richard Thomas.”
Kelly contends that the attorney representing the City of Mount Vernon, Mr. Frank Acocella of the Acocella Law Group acted unethically and unprofessionally in violation for federal rules and was dishonest in his representations to the federal court with regard to this lawsuit. Among other things, on its’ webpage, the Acocella Law Group touts itself as handling simple residential closings, which begs the question why Richard Thomas drafted this law firm to handle a purported complex multi-million-dollar conspiracy case? Public disclosure of campaign donations to the Thomas campaign provides a clue. Kelly will pursue further action against Mr. Acocella with the NYS Bar Association.