Mount Vernon — Four Mount Vernon Police Officers were served subpoenas Tuesday, to appear at a hearing and answer questions about driving Mayor Richard Thomas’ wife around. Mayor Thomas allegedly used his personal detail to escort his wife on non-city business/ personal errands, which allegedly includes shopping trips to Trader Joes and other stores, to get manicures and pedicures in White Plains, go grocery shopping and even Broadway plays in which she allegedly had the officers pick up her friends on the way, according to a press release.
New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi plead guilty in September 2006 and was later sentenced by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for what was termed ‘Chauffeur Controversy’ because among other charges, he used Nicholas Acquafredda, a state employee and member of his security detail, to drive and aid his ailing wife.
Mount Vernon Comptroller Maureen Walker exclusively released a press release to Black Westchester on the matter;
As the Chief Financial Officer of the City of Mount Vernon, it is my duty and responsibility to identify any situation or activity that has the potential to compromise the financial stability of our city. The apparent use of city owned police vehicles driven by on-duty police officers to take the wife of Mayor Thomas on personal errands constitutes such a risk from a liability perspective.
Several attempts were made to obtain information in reference to the above from both Mayor Thomas and the acting Police Commissioner to no avail. As a last resort, subpoenas were issued to four members of the Mount Vernon Police Department to testify on the apparent use of city owned automobiles for activities that are not connected to nor have any bearing on the official day-to-day functions of our city.
In 2006, then State Comptroller Alan Hevesi pleaded guilty to using a state-owned automobile and a state employee to drive his wife Carol on personal errands without reimbursing the state for the costs involved. This situation involving Mayor Thomas’s wife appears to be somewhat similar to the case involving the then State Comptroller Alan Hevesi and his wife.
In Mount Vernon, we are very proud of our police officers and are grateful for the outstanding job they do in keeping us and our city safe. However, we are very disturbed that a number of these officers were placed in an unfortunate position of apparently having to be personal drivers to the Mayor’s wife.
One of the objectives of this subpoena is to determine the cost of these activities to the taxpayers of Mount Vernon and in the least seek reimbursement from the Mayor.
We reached out to Mayor Thomas Wednesday night before printing our exclusive news brief and his press secretary Maria Donovan resent the press release that went out Tuesday asking Comptroller Maureen Walker “When will you pay the city’s bills? Land surveyors, landscapers, mechanics, and tool suppliers across Mount Vernon have been busy working with the city to help move Mount Vernon forward and make it beautiful again. Despite their hard work, the Comptroller is refusing to pay them.”
The press release ends, “We will turn our streetlights on! We will clean and fix our sewers! We will pave our roads! We will beautify our parks! And we will reclaim Memorial Field!” but the Mayor did not however give us a quote on the subpoenas and he did not confirm or deny the allegations that he had on-duty police officers take his wife on personal errands. Stay Tuned to BW for more on this developing story!