News Ticker

BOE Report: Mayor Thomas Responds

Calls Board Of Ethics Report Fictitious and Vicious Lies

Mount Vernon – Hours after the news broke the story of the Board Of Ethics Report accusing Mayor Thomas of collecting more than $100,000 as a trustee of the Amani Public Charter School in violation of state education law, he issues his official response saying the BOE Report is Fictitious and Vicious Lies.  The report comes a week after Thomas was arrested and arraigned by the state Attorney General’s Office with stealing nearly $13,000 in campaign funds and failing to report on his city financial disclosure forms more than $75,000 he received from individuals, companies and his inaugural committee.

Every dirty trick in the book is being used to stop me from serving you. Each day we get closer and closer to revealing who has been stealing millions from Mount Vernon, causing property taxes to spike and services to suffer. You elected me to wage this great battle and I will not stop fighting until corruption is rooted out of City Hall.

We cannot allow the politics of the past to bring our great city down. While I know the attacks from the old guard may be disheartening, do not lose faith. My administration and I will continue to work to move Mount Vernon forward.

The latest lie is as unfounded as it is preposterous. Since 2013, the Amani Public Charter School has been awarded competitive grants from the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau for after-school programs in excess of $100,000 annually. The money serves more than 150 aspiring students in a safe and quality manner – teaching them science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

On my ethics filing I disclosed that I had been a board member of the school and that the school had received money from the city. The so-called Board of Ethics twisted this into a lie that the school gave me money. They opted to draw conspiracy level conclusions, assailing my involvement in education reform and providing for our young people.

Sadly, this shows how far some will sink to abandon their integrity for political expediency.
-Mayor Richard Thomas

Trustees of public charter schools are not supposed to be compensated for their work, according to state education law. Amani’s annual financial reports in recent years indicated Thomas and other trustees were unpaid.

Debra Stern, the school’s executive director, said she could not explain why the mayor listed the dollar figure he did. She offered that the school gets an annual $165,000 grant from the city through its Youth Bureau for Amani’s STRONG, or Students Taking Responsibility and Ownership Now and Graduating, program.

The five-month BOE confidential investigation was largely based on two financial disclosure reports Mayor Thomas submitted in May 2017. They left board members questioning how the mayor and his wife paid down student debt and bought a $612,000 home on Douglas Place without showing any significant assets in 2015, 2016 or 2017.

An official told News 12 that the “report speaks for itself.” City Council members didn’t want to comment either, but said the ethics report had been turned over to the attorney general and officials in the state Department of Education.

Stay tuned to Black Westchester for more on this developing story!

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About AJ Woodson (2278 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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