Mount Vernon – Mount Vernon Mayor Richard W. Thomas was arrested and arraigned Monday morning on criminal charges including grand larceny as part of a corruption probe by the New York State Attorney General’s Office into campaign finance irregularities.
Mayor Thomas, the youngest City Councilman in Mount Vernon history who unseated Mayor Ernie Davis in 2015 to become the youngest mayor in of Mount Vernon. surrendered Monday morning at the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, accompanied by his lawyer.
‘The Allegations are not true,” Mayor Thomas accompanied with his wife, attorney, few clergy members and supporters, said at the very brief press conference in front of Mount Vernon City Hall. “And I want to reassure the people of Mount Vernon that this has nothing to do with my service in office, as it relates to the campaign.”
Carl Bernstein, the Mayor’s attorney echoed the mayor’s sentiments and stated they plan to vigorously contest all charges. “These charges relate to his campaign and have absolutely nothing to do with his performance as a mayor in Mount Vernon where he has done an extraordinary job.” (see full press conference in video below)
Mayor Thomas was charged with third-degree grand larceny, a felony, and filing a false instrument. He is accused of stealing more than $12,000 from Friends of Richard Thomas, his campaign committee, and lying about it on his campaign finance filings. He is also accused of failing to report on his city ethics disclosure money he received from individuals and his inaugural committee, which he used to pay credit card bills for personal expenses. While innocent until proven guilty, Mayor Thomas could be forced out of office if convicted of a felony per the City Charter. (see court documents below)
“Let us not forget, Mayor Thomas is innocent until proven guilty,” Councilman André Wallace, who has been one of the mayor’s strongest critic, shared with Black Westchester after the press conference. “We will have to sit back and let the all the facts come out before rushing to judgement. It’s a sad day for Mount Vernon, but we must go about doing the business of the city and let this situation play out in court.”
At the suggestion of his lawyer, Mayor Thomas did not take questions at the press conference, nor did he address any of the criminal charges other than to say he ‘expected to be fully vindicated.
The crowd was mixed with loyal die-hard supporters and family members and many who felt the mayor should step down from office and let their voices be heard.
Sources tell us the New York State Attorney General’s Office will be holding their own press conference later in the day in Manhattan.
The judge ordered the mayor to surrender his passport. He is due back in court on May 1st.
Stay tuned to Black Westchester for more on this developing story.
***** Updated Monday, March 12, 2018 at 1:37PM to include court documents below****