June 7, 2023
BW - Mount Vernon

Mayoral Buffoonery; Former Mayor Richard Thomas has cost Mount Vernon Taxpayers $15 million for illegally shutting down Kela Tennis

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Kela Tennis Lawyer states: Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard had committed “Mayoral Malpractice” and was as responsible for the result as Thomas because she had not seriously entertained negotiations that would have limited what the city would owe.

When then-Mayor Richard Thomas ordered the bubble pulled down one early morning five years ago, Mount Vernon was found in violation of its contract with the owners of the Mount Vernon Tennis Center located at Memorial Field, Intersection of E Sandford Blvd and Garden Ave, Mount Vernon, was assessed a judgment of roughly $9.4 million on Friday, April 15th.

Unfortunately for the city taxpayers, this is another example of how the revenge tactics of Richard Thomas as Mayor against a business in the city of Mount Vernon have come home to roost. This judgment against the city follows the $4.2 million judgment awarded to Mega Beverage after former Mayor Richard Thomas illegally shut down of the recycling business. The city is still attempting to appeal this judgment.

Mount Vernon and the Tri-State Area watched how Richard Thomas used his police force, like Nazi  Geheime Staatspolizei, abbreviated Gestapo, to illegally shut down or attempt to evict businesses from direct orders of then-Mayor Richard Thomas. 

Once the mandatory yearly interest rate of 9 percent is determined, the total sum owing to Kela Tennis Inc. will be close to $15 million. Because the lawsuit concerned an alleged violation of the contract, the city’s insurance carrier refused to pay for it. The judgment might have a disastrous effect on the city’s already thin budget because a $15 million lump-sum payment would result in a 30% tax rise. The city will probably appeal the decision, chiefly on the basis that state Supreme Court Justice Lewis Lubell prohibited the city’s primary argument, which claimed that Mayor Ernie Davis lacked the authority to engage in the 2015 contract with Kela, rendering it invalid.

The two lawsuits will ultimately cost the hardworking taxpayers of Mount Vernon 20 million dollars. Unfortunately, the city can’t even give its police officers a decent salary but must pay $20 million for governmental buffoonery by then-Mayor Richard Thomas. 

Kela Simunyola, Owner and Director of Tennis, decided to settle the case despite getting a sizable financial award because he anticipated a protracted appellate process that would prevent him and his family from collecting anything. Borkowski claimed that Shawyn Patterson-Howard, the mayor, had engaged in “mayoral malpractice” and was as to blame for the outcome as Thomas since she had not taken seriously any discussions that may have reduced the city’s amount would be required to pay.

“My family and I have suffered greatly because of what Mount Vernon did to us, and we prayed this day of vindication would come,” Simunyola said in a statement issued through his lawyers, James Borkowski and Andrew Tureaud of the firm Keane & Beane. “Mount Vernon should do the decent thing and settle this case.” 

However, Patterson-Howard said in a statement on Friday that the city’s $1.2 million offer from last week was turned down. She stated that the contingency fund of the city only had that amount available and that without insurance, the inability to use Covid relief funds for lawsuit settlements, the lack of savings, or a good credit rating, “the city could not make a stronger financial settlement offer in good faith.”

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