Mount Vernon, NY — Days following the Fourth of July, fireworks are still going off in Mount Vernon, politically speaking in the City Council chambers as well as the heated fight for Mt. Vernon’s mayoral seat in upcoming election.
Often outspoken City Councilman Richard Thomas, who has fired off a few rounds at the incumbent, Mayor Davis, over the past few weeks, first in a June 9th press conference and then a July 6th follow-up to the AG’s office, is now under fire, himself from Council president Marcus Griffith and others.
In a June 23rd City Council Work Session, Council President Griffin alleged Councilman Thomas called him the N-Word and threatened him with bodily harm (the work session was not recorded).
During the July 8th City Council meeting, copies of an email sent by Griffith to Thomas, demanding a public apology, were distributed to the windshield of every car in city hall parking lot for those in attendance to see when they left the meeting.
Thomas has been a critic of the administration of Mayor Ernest D. Davis, the incumbent Democrat who was recently sentenced on federal tax evasion charges and who is seeking re-election in a crowded primary field. The councilman has often clashed with department heads over what he says is a lack of transparency with the public and the City Council, reported Lohud.
“I have a great deal of respect for the City Council and maintain my commitment to working with my colleagues to make Mt. Vernon a better place,” Thomas tells BW. “The vigorous discussion and vigorous disagreement underscores my passion for Mt. Vernon.”
Griffith said the incident made employees feel uncomfortable and — after written inquiries from the mayor and law department — he felt the City Council should decide if it will take action of any kind against Thomas, reports Lohud.
“The City Council is extremely disappointed at Councilman Thomas’ attack and viscous choice of words,” Councilman Griffith tells BW. “The use of the word “Nigger” should never be used by anyone, but especially by any elected official.”
We invited Griffith to appear on People Before Politics Radio this Sunday, to discuss this situation in much more detail, but he was unable to accept our invitation due to prior engagement.
It appears we can expect the fireworks in Mt. Vernon to continue throughout the summer on the road to the Democratic Party Primary September 10th that includes Davis and Thomas as well as former Mayor Clinton Young, city Comptroller Maureen Walker, state Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson and Councilwoman Deborah Reynolds.
While Davis and Thomas continue to dominate the headlines, the other four candidates have been quiet, almost as if they are sitting back to let these two beat each other up in the press. We expect they will all break their silence soon, now that the petitions have been turned in and they begin the challenging-each-other-signatures-phase.
Residents of Mount Vernon we talked to have been split down the middle, some feel its unacceptable if what Thomas is being accused of is true, while others feel it’s a campaign stunt to discredit Thomas in the race for mayor. A local political blog, Democrats Exposed reported:
What amazed many of those who read and received the letter, delivered in a clandestine style while the council meeting was going on upstairs, was how quickly a private incident was made public when matters of public record that the public has to right to know, never seem to be released in a timely matter, if at all.
If the allegations prove to be true, about Thomas’ use of the N-Word, it could be damaging to his campaign as far as voters that may be on the fence whether or not to vote for him. We will see if that is the case, because we have a long road to the fall primary.
Stay Tuned To BW for more on this developing story!