Mount Vernon mayor charged with grand larceny; denies allegations

Ceria Alfonso
Marcha 13, 2018

The 35-year-old, first-term mayor denied the allegations outside the courthouse in Mount Vernon on Monday.

In a press conference Monday afternoon, Schneiderman detailed a complaint against Thomas that alleges he used his campaign and inaugural accounts as "personal piggybanks" in a scheme that ran from the start of his campaign in 2015 through his time in office. Reading only a brief statement and not answering questions from reporters, Thomas vowed to fight the charges.

"The allegations are false". "And I want to reassure the people of Mount Vernon that this has nothing to do with my service in office as it relates to the campaign". I have great confidence in our legal system and have no doubt I will be able to prove our full compliance. "I expect to be fully vindicated", Thomas said.

In 2015, Thomas defeated longtime Mayor Ernie Davis. Many said they were disappointed by the charges.

City Councilman Andre Wallace, who has often butted heads with the mayor, said he would wait for due process.

Thomas also allegedly used the campaign money to cover rent for his family home, vehicle loans, and for three auto insurance policies.

After winning the election, Thomas allegedly siphoned some $6,500 from his campaign account and deposited it into his personal account to pay off vehicle payments and personal loans. The diverted funds paid for charges incurred from the family's trip to Mexico, a Chanel purse and credit card payments.

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While Schneiderman said there is "latitude" with campaign funds, he said Thomas' "pattern of looting here really is extraordinary".

"You are not allowed to pay for just anything and everything with a campaign account", he added.

"This is not typical to deposit checks from your campaign committee and then pay things off", Schneiderman said. "This is very unusual".

The mayor of Mount Vernon, New York has been arrested as part of a public corruption probe by the state attorney general's office.

"We are looking into additional matters and we encourage anyone with any information pertaining to these crimes to contact our Public Integrity Bureau". "Public corruption strikes at the very heart of our democracy, and we're committed to continuing to root it out across NY".

"Keep in mind, this was all before Richard Thomas was even elected mayor", Schneiderman said.

If found guilty of the felony charges, Thomas would have to vacate the position under state law.

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