*Updated 3:10 PM – Oct, 16th to add Councilman Edwards Comment*
Tuesday morning, Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis pleaded guilty to two counts of tax evasion and faces up to two years in federal prison when he’s sentenced in January. The plea agreement The Mayor entered into when he pled guilty states if he files at least two weeks before the sentencing and pays taxes due, he could be sentenced to as little as six months in federal prison. Since the news broke there has been a plethora of reactions, some good and bad from both local politicians and residents of Mount Vernon. Last night Councilman Richard Thomas who has been among those who have been very outspoken against the Mayor in recent months, put out a statement, “The news is very disappointing that Mayor Davis, by his own admission, is guilty of two federal crimes pertaining to his personal income taxes. It is a very troubling breach of the public trust and the people of Mount Vernon deserve better,” said Councilman Thomas, click here to read entire statement.
“I read about it Yesterday, and it such a shame, a real shame when that happens to any Mayor of any town..,” Dr. Giulio Cavallo, Chairman of the Westchester Independence Party told Black Westchester earlier today. “I understand he had an issue a few years ago and the government gave him time to clear it up and he hasn’t been responsible in doing so, and now he got caught up again.. It was irresponsible what he did and it’s the people, the citizens are the ones that suffer. I hope he doesn’t have to serve jail time, after all he’s a 76-year-old man.. But you can’t tell people to pay your taxes or you go to jail and you don’t pay yours so he has to pay the price.. But I wish him well.” County Legislator Lyndon Williams, shared his views via Facebook, earlier today. Several Facebook friends of Lyndon Williams shared their disappointment and even urged him to step up and do what he could to help restore Mount Vernon to its former glory, including urging him to possibly run for Mayor. While many are calling for the embattled Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis to step down, he defiantly rejected calls for his resignation hours after pleading guilty to federal charges that he willfully failed to file personal and corporate income tax returns. “People make mistakes and I’ve certainly made enough, and I’ve grown with those mistakes,” Davis told The Journal News from Mount Vernon City Hall late Tuesday. “The fact is I’ve been under scrutiny for over seven years and at the end of the day I’m charged with two misdemeanors and they were both failure to file taxes.” The Mayor and his staff have not returned several calls Black Westchester placed to his office today to give him a chance to share his side of the story. While many are calling for his head, there are those who are saddened but thing the mayor is being judged too harshly like Bernice Perez who responded to Lyndon Williams’ Facebook post,
I too am sadden @ what is happening here in Mount Vernon-YES we elected Mayor Ernie Davis again seeking and BELIEF for change. HOWEVER we again failed ourselves by not holding their feet to the fire and accountable for the things they preach and the bag of goods they were selling to get our precious VOTE. NOW we are once again mad and upset and ready to degrade, throw them under the bus the person we elected – don’t get me wrong I am not condoning any wrong committed by the Mayor to which he should be judged on those issues. The issue #1 of unpaid personal taxes for the year 2012 (one year) which he admitted to and took responsibility – did they give him an opportunity to pay such taxes? The issue #2 property Taxes-if any property owner does not pay such taxes what happens they FORECLOSE on said property-did they do that. Issue#3 – Did Ernie Davis take any money from the citizens of Mount Vernon for his own personal use due to his own personal problems-NO. I am for any legitimate complaint and issue concerning the run of this City, beef with the works of Mayor Davis and we should address them and hold him fully accountable which we ourselves failed to do. and Therefore, I see this as a witch hunt by to many “snakes” on the planes to their rise to stardom.
Gloria Dulan-Wilson also shared her support for the Mayor via comment to the story of Facebook:
My prayers are for Ernie Davis – He has assumed responsibility – but for the most part, unless he’s a CPA, no elected official does his or her own taxes – it accrues more to the fact that he is running a city and thought he could handle it at a later date. It’s not evasion, it’s neglect – of course his detractors want to make it sound worse than it is. And because he’s Black, generally speaking the punishment is generally ten times more severe that had he been white – Prison time after he’s already made agreements and arrangements to make restitution would be egregious and outrageous and – yes – racist. My prayers also for the City of Mt. Vernon.
Most people were not as supportive like Dennis McDermott:
Makes me very, very sad. CMV gets unfairly bashed from all sides on a regular basis — what we don’t need is to have any of our public officials taking risks, shortcuts or being sloppy in their personal affairs when such activities may reflect poorly on our City. Mayor Davis: I am very disappointed….
The love/hate relationship between The City Of Mount Vernon and Mayor Davis continues, some love him, some have no use for him and others just feel its time for change, for younger leadership across the board. A lot of local residents took to social media, sharing their disappointment, some said they knew it, left comments like, ‘they finally got him,’ and ‘he could only hide for so long.’
Councilman J. Yuhanna Edwards (D) reach out to Black Westchester to share his support for the Mayor; “The crime is not egregious enough to take a city back a number of years. The mayor is doing a good job and there are several projects that are ongoing that an architect needs to be there to vet, with a vision for the next 20 years, the future, not just the next four.”
We reached out to the remaining members of The Mount Vernon City Council, Council President Roberta Apuzzo (D), Acting President Pro Tem, Marcus A. Griffith (D), and Deborah Reynolds (D) as well as The Commissioner of the Westchester Board of Election and Westchester Democratic Chairman, Reggie Lafayette (who I believe is also Mt. Vernon Democratic Chairman as well-sound like a conflict of interest to me, but I digress) and other local elected officials who have yet to respond to our request for a comment. Stay Tuned and keep refreshing, because we will update this piece as more comments come in, (if they choose to respond). One things for sure, the house that is Mount Vernon government is still divided and Mayor’s recent admittance for guilt and probable upcoming jail term should make the upcoming Mount Vernon Mayoral race next year even more interesting. As always we encourage you to share your thoughts and feelings in the comment section below.