MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Despite pleading guilty to federal tax charges and admitting he failed to file income tax returns on a pair of occasions, much-maligned Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis has steadfastly refused to vacate his office, drawing the ire of locals.
Last week, at U.S. District Court in White Plains, Davis pled guilty to a pair of misdemeanor charges of willfully failing to file federal income tax returns in 2003 and 2011. He additionally failed to disclose to the Internal Revenue Service that he sold a building he owned in 2003.
The embattled mayor faces up to two years in prison, though it is expected that he will receive a sentence of zero to six months and a fine not exceeding $10,000 as part of his plea agreement .
Despite the seriousness of the charges levied against him, Davis has refused to leave office and has been conducting business as usual, much to the displeasure of his constituents. He is due back in court on Monday, Jan. 26 for sentencing.
“I’m not sure what’s going through his head, I’m amazed that he hasn’t stepped down yet,” resident Jorge Wilson said on Monday. “He’s facing prison, but there he is, welcoming new businesses to the area and acting like nothing happened. It’s bizarre.”
“It would be one thing if the charges were just looming over his head, but he’s pled guilty and might be in jail in a few months,” Gayle Scola added near City Hall on Monday. “It’s time to get some new leadership and turn this city around.”
Davis has been a long-term fixture in office in Mount Vernon, where he served as the mayor from 1996 to 2008 before losing re-election to Clinton Young. He was re-elected to the position in 2012, but has come under heavy public scrutiny in his second time in office. His current term ends in 2016.
“The news is very disappointing that Mayor Davis, by his own admission, is guilty of two federal crimes pertaining to his personal income taxes,” Councilman Richard Thomas said in a statement at the time. “It is a troubling breach of public trust and the people of Mount Vernon deserve better.”
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