Richard Thomas, Mount Vernon’s mayor from 2016-19, is asking for a full pardon from Gov. Kathy Hochul. Thomas – who convicted on charges he stole campaign funds – sent 537-page letter (see letter below) dated Tuesday, February 10th claiming the probe that led to his guilty plea was a conspiracy launched by high-ranking state officials who wanted him out of the way.
(Letter obtained by the NY Post)
Monday, March 12, 2018, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the arrest of Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas for allegedly stealing campaign funds and lying about money he diverted from his inaugural committee for personal benefit. Mr. Thomas was arrested on a felony complaint this morning after an investigation that exposed the theft of approximately $12,900 from his campaign committee, and the diversion of over $45,000 from his inaugural committee for personal use and his failure to disclose it.
Thomas insists that he was prosecuted improperly, as the former state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman lacked the authority to charge crimes involving campaign finance violations without a referral from the state Board of Elections.
Thomas is also asking Hochul to pardon former top aide and Mount Vernon city attorney Lawrence Porcari, who was sentenced to 1 to 3 years behind bars for using $360,000 in money from the city Board of Water Supply to pay for Thomas’ attorneys and a public relations firm after the ex-mayor’s arrest, The Journal News reported.
Porcari’s case is on appeal and he isn’t a signee to the letter, which is addressed to Hochul and the Executive Clemency Bureau of the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, which would review the application and forward it to the governor if the request is found to be eligible.
“What happened to us was wrong and was retaliation from larger, darker, dirty political forces,” Thomas wrote in his letter. “A pardon can begin the process of restoring our good names and giving us another shot at living a normal life … It will also show that your Administration means to take action and not content itself with empty rhetoric of clean and ethical government.”
A Hochul spokesperson said the office couldn’t discuss the specific application from Thomas.
“While we cannot comment on pending clemency applications as the process is confidential, Governor Hochul is committed to improving justice, fairness, and safety in the criminal justice system, and we are reviewing applications in this context,” said Hazel Crampton-Hays, a spokesperson for Hochul told the NY Post.