On Monday BW reported that a group of Mount Vernon residents and taxpayers hired a Yonkers attorney to look at the eligibility of Ernest Davis to continue to serve as Mayor of Mount Vernon after pleading guilty to two tax evasion charges.
Mayor Davis blamed the push to oust him from office on frequent critics, including community activist Samuel Rivers and City Council Vice President Richard Thomas — both of whom denied the claim reports The Journal News.
“All I can tell you is that there are people who are running through the streets trying to kick up as much controversy as they can,” Davis said. “People know this for what it is. This is a continual barrage of people who have contributed nothing to the direction of the city going forward.”
Davis’ attorney, Jeremy Temkin, said the charter refers to conduct related to the office or job held by a defendant, not personal conduct unrelated to the office. Temkin said he discussed the issue with federal prosecutors before Davis’ guilty plea and they agreed with his interpretation of the statute.
Temkin is referring to Article IV of the Mount Vernon City Charter: Officers and Elections – § 25 Penalty of violation of duty
Any officer or employee who willfully violates or evades any provision of law, or of this chapter, or by culpable neglect of duty allows any public property to be lost to the City, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, in addition to the penalties imposed by law, shall on conviction forfeit his office or employment.
Michael J. Khader, P.C. who represents the group concerning the alleged violations on the Mount Vernon City Charter by Mayor Ernest Davis, told BW that Councilman Richard Thomas and Community Activist Samuel L. Rivers were not among those who he represents,
“I know Richard Thomas is a Councilman but I never personally met him,” shares Michael J. Khader. “and I don’t know who Samuel River is. I do not represent either one of them.”
As far as Davis’s attorney Temkin interpretation of the charter, Khader disagrees,
“My interpretation of the statute and it’s language clearly states that any violation of law. It does not state that it must be in his capacity as mayor. We anticipated their position that the conviction was in his individual capacity, hence it appears judicial intervention is inevitable.”
Samuel L. Rivers who Davis often calls an agitator says, “Ernie Davis continues to place blame on others for his nefarious acts. The city charter is clear, he needs to resign.”