MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - A Former FBI agent has been appointed to probe the Mount Vernon Urban Renewal Agency.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas announced on Monday that veteran law enforcement official Richard Frankel has been appointed as a special counsel to commence an investigation into the records and operations of the Renewal Agency.
According to Thomas, Frankel led numerous FBI file divisions as the Special Agent In-Charge in Newark, overseeing criminal investigations, as well as undercover and tactical operations with an emphasis on threat-based, intelligence-led law enforcement.
Thomas said that Frankel’s assignment will be to conduct an in-depth review of the Renewal Agency’s operations to detect possible irregularities that date back more than a decade.
“Since taking office I have had serious concerns about the agency’s work and its use of federal funds,” he said. Six months ago, I hired former Obama administration officials to review whether the Urban Renewal Agency was in compliance with federal law.
“Their feedback to me has necessitated the appointment of a recognized white collar criminal expert to take a deep dive into the records of the agency and utilize sworn testimony to review the agency’s operations”
Thomas noted that among the findings of the initial investigation of the agency was that it had an estimated $6 million in loans that were listed as “uncollectible or undocumented.”
“Reports that should have been filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development were disregarded and communications to the agency staff were hidden by a veil of silence,” he added. “We also need to know why certain federal funds remain unspent. Of particular concern, is the fact that city funds are being transferred to the agency with no explanation as to why.”
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