Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas is scheduled to appear in court for his first appearance since being arraigned in May on charges claiming he stole campaign funds and failed to disclose his use of inaugural funds during his initial run for office.
Thomas is due in Westchester County Court on Friday, where he will answer charges that include grand larceny and filing a false instrument after being accused of stealing more than $12,000 from Friends of Richard Thomas, his campaign committee when he ran for mayor three years ago. He is also accused of allegedly failing to report nearly $50,000 that he took from his inaugural committee following the election.
The mayor recently filed a motion to dismiss the charges, claiming the Attorney General’s Office “could not pursue the case because the investigation was based on an improper referral from the state Comptroller.” That motion was denied by Westchester County Judge Barry Warhit.
Thomas has vehemently denied all allegations against him during his tenure in office.
“The allegations are merely accusations with no supporting evidence,” his office said in a statement. “The allegations are claims of a technical nature relating to Election Law, campaign finance and ethics disclosures. It should be noted that the funds in question, paid to then candidate-Thomas’ personal account, were legal and justified, and made on the advice of counsel, as compensation for his own campaign duties."
Thomas, 35, was the youngest mayor elected in Mount Vernon history in 2015, following on the heels of former Mayor Ernest Davis, who also found himself in the sights of law enforcement for various alleged incidents. Thomas has butted heads with several other elected officials during his tenure, including City Councilman Andre Wallace and recently ousted City Comptroller Maureen Walker.
Thomas’ administration has come under fire in recent months, with the incidents involving Walker and a $70,000 vehicle purchased for Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Spiezio that was “illegally and fraudulently” purchased. His brother, an employee with Mount Vernon’s DPW was also arrested last month with allegedly fake registration tags and marijuana.
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