With many calling for his resignation after he was brought up on corruption charges on Monday, Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas is poised to deliver his annual State of the City address on Thursday, days after his arrest.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced charges against Thomas on Monday afternoon, after an investigation exposed that he allegedly stole $12,900 from his campaign committee and diverted more than $45,000 from his inaugural committee for personal use and failed to disclose that information to officials.
Thomas was charged with third-degree grand larceny and two counts of third-degree ordering a false instrument for filing, all felonies. He was also charged with two counts of second-degree offering a false instrument for filing, misdemeanors.
“As we allege, Mayor Thomas used his campaign and inaugural accounts as personal piggybanks – part of a long-running scheme that began during his 2015 campaign and continued throughout his time in office,” Schneiderman stated. “As we detail in the felony complaint, Mayor Thomas treated these accounts as slush funds to pay off cars, dinners, and even a Chanel purse, and then lied about it in his filings. Public corruption strikes at the very heart of our democracy, and we’re committed to continuing to root it out across New York.
The mayor has vehemently denied the charges, stating that “the allegations are merely accusations with no supporting evidence.”
Amid the chaos surrounding Monday’s events, there have been calls for Thomas to step down, similar to the cacophony of voices that followed former Mayor Ernest Davis for years while he was in office, before he pleaded guilty to federal tax charges in 2015, before Thomas took the helm of the city.
At last year’s address, Thomas touted his accomplishments while calling on his peers in government to make sweeping changes to fit his agenda. The nature of this year’s speech was unclear in advance of the “State of the City,” and it was unclear if Thomas will address this week’s charges against him.
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