Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas has denied the new charges against him that claim he allegedly stole thousands of dollars in campaign funds when running for office three years ago.
A day after he was indicted by a grand jury for allegedly stealing campaign funds and failing to disclose funds that he used for personal expenses., Thomas' attorney Randall Jackson issued a statement vehemently denying the new charges, and saying that they look forward to the truth coming out.
“We are looking forward to addressing the numerous problems with this investigation and prosecution in court," he said in a statement. "The Mayor will continue to work for the citizens of Mount Vernon as we address these unfounded charges."
Thomas was arraigned on felony corruption charges on March 12 that included grand larceny and filing a false instrument after being accused of stealing more than $10,000 from his campaign committee and lying about it on finance filing forms.
The mayor is now 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.
New charges include multiple counts of grand larceny, a felony that is punishable by prison time, as well as filing a false statement. It is unclear when Thomas will be arraigned on the new indictment. He is due back in court on June 1 to answer the corruption charges.
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.
Following his arrest in March, Thomas called the charges against him “mere allegations.”
“The allegations are merely accusations with no supporting evidence. No indictment has been brought against Mayor Thomas,” 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’ 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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