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Mount Vernon Held Back Thousands From School District, Report Says

Mount Vernon Comptroller Maureen Walker. Photo Credit: File
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas and Comptroller Maureen Walker have been at odds for months. Photo Credit: Contributed

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - The Mount Vernon School District is reportedly the latest casualty of an ongoing battle of wills between Mayor Richard Thomas and other city officials.

The school district missed out on thousands of dollars because a check for more than $4.5 million in school taxes sat on Thomas’ desk while he and Comptroller Maureen Walker continue to go back-and-forth over a $70,000 vehicle purchase, according to a lohud report.

Thomas and Walker have been at odds after a check for an SUV from the city bounced, prompting the mayor to seek a temporary restraining order and the comptroller to claim that Mount Vernon Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Spiezio “illegally and fraudulently removed the check from (Thomas') office and attempted to use it, not to purchase a police vehicle, but for a personal luxury SUV.”

According to the report, the checks that would have been designated for the school district was among several that Walker’s office signed and sent to the mayor last month. Those checks were reportedly never returned to be uploaded into the city’s system.

"I did not stop, nor did I cancel the check, as your false, misleading and malicious letter stated," she wrote to Thomas. "All checks sent to your office for signature must be returned to the Comptroller's Office to be uploaded before they are considered legitimate and can be distributed to vendors.

"If checks are dispensed directly from your office, the bank will identify them as fraudulent, as was the case with the check used by Mr. Spiezio," Walker added, stating that the police are currently investigating "several checks stolen from (Thomas') office almost two years ago."

According to Thomas, the Mount Vernon Police Department requested the vehicle, the request was approved and a check was given to officials that was signed by both Walker and the mayor. Thomas said that the city was later informed by the dealer of the vehicle that the check had bounced.

“The most recent restraining order was necessary due to the Comptroller illegally canceling a check after it had been delivered to the vendor for police vehicles,” he said. “The Comptroller has yet to offer any explanation as to why the payment was stopped illegally and apparently without cause.”

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