MOUNT VERNON, NY: (August 12, 2019) – Mayor André Wallace discusses the initial findings related to his investigation into corruption and financial abuse in City Hall. Wallace will provide an initial progress report, including updates on:
• Mount Vernon’s Bureau of Water Supply:
In less than a week, Wallace was able to identify at least $3 million dollars in money that was being squirreled away and kept from the People. That money has been transferred to the Comptroller to be held in trust for renovating and rebuilding Memorial Field;
Wallace and his team have identified substantial irregularities in the use of consultants and payments for legal resources, which may indicate as much as $1.5 million missing from the Bureau of Water Supply.
• Mount Vernon’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA):
A similar pattern has emerged in the IDA, with spending patterns indicating the IDA has been used as a massive “slush fund” by the previous administration, with improper payments for personal use, family members, crony consultants, and well-connected political allies of the former Mayor;
Initial estimates put the fraud, waste, and abuse at as much as $5 million;
The investigation has been hampered by the disappearance of IDA records, a number of which have been identified as being held in the offices of law firms that may be allegedly part of the underlying scheme or, at least, a cover-up of that scheme.
Receipts and records belonging to the IDA have already been traced to the firms associated with former Mayor Thomas’ lawyers, Jeffrey Buss (Spolzino, Smith, Buss & Jacobs, LLP) and Jerry Kremer (Ruskin Moscou Faltichek, PC).
“While the investigations are active and ongoing, the initial results are shameful,” said Wallace. “The Thomas administration was using the People of Mount Vernon as its personal ATM machine. More indictments are coming, and some may involve elected officials, past and present.”
Outside law enforcement agencies have been alerted to the initial findings and have begun their own investigations. Mayor Wallace and his team will offer assistance and support in those inquiries.
“We’re just getting started. There’s been a lot of resistance, obviously. But, just as obvious, there are some good people in this government who just want to do their job and help us find out what went on for the People of this City,” added Wallace. “Mount Vernon’s citizens have encouraged me to keep pushing and, when we come across resistance, to push even harder. And, we will.”
“To anyone who thinks they’ve taken money from this City and gotten away with it, I’ve got one message: We’re coming after you, and we’ll get our money back”, said Wallace.