An official in Mount Vernon is reportedly rejecting a judge’s court order to open up the city’s books to allow the mayor to investigate finances.
Supreme Court Justice Susan Cacace ruled earlier this month that Mount Vernon Comptroller Deborah Reynolds is to stop blocking Thomas’ administration’s access to printed and online financial records that will “allow him to determined how much money the city truly has.”
Thomas and Reynolds have been butting heads for months, with both pointing fingers at each other for the city’s woes, financially and otherwise.
“This court finds that the drafters of the City Charter clearly expressed their intention…to vest authority in the Mayor of the City of Mount Vernon to himself examine, or to designate other competent individuals to examine the books and records of all departments of the City, including the Comptroller’s Office, the Finance Department and any bank account owned by the city as often as he wishes to do so, and without first being required to provide notice to the Comptroller’s Office,” Cacace wrote in her decision.
On Thursday, April 18, Thomas sent an email blast stating that Reynolds has refused to comply with the Supreme Court order, alleging that “rather than comply, Reynolds appealed, potentially hiding the books for the remainder of her term in office.”
“A review of those records which are available establishes that the Comptroller is evading safeguards imposed by the City Charter requiring two signatures on all checks issued by the City,” Thomas stated. “Instead, the Comptroller is paying certain invoices by the use of wire transfers which do not contain two signatures, and which have not been properly disclosed or approved. In addition, a recent report by the Inspector General criticized payments by the Comptroller to a law firm that has not been retained by the City nor approved by the Board of Estimate.
Reynolds could not be reached for comment on Thursday afternoon.
“The Comptroller is now demanding that all parking tickets be paid to her and has issued written correspondence to City agencies and authorities, demanding that payments due to those agencies be paid to her office,” Thomas continued in his statement. “The Police Department affirms that annual parking revenue is in the millions.
“Mayor Thomas is demanding that Comptroller Reynolds comply with the Court’s Order, that the City’s financial books and records be opened to examination without delay, and that the City’s vendors be paid. This has been adversely affecting Mount Vernon’s credit rating, the City’s ability to conduct the people’s business, and the businesses themselves.”
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