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Mount Vernon Mayor Rejects Calls To Resign After Tax Evasion Guilty Plea

Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis pleaded guilty to willfully failing to file federal income tax returns in two separate years.
Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis pleaded guilty to willfully failing to file federal income tax returns in two separate years. Photo Credit: File

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis has reportedly vowed to stay in office despite facing up to two years in prison after pleading guilty to federal tax charges and admitting he failed to file income tax returns.

According to reports, despite the evidence, Davis plans to continue in his position. The mayor could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Councilman Richard Thomas noted that “the people of Mount Vernon deserve better.”

The 76-year-old mayor, who has been the subject of federal investigations and city Board of Ethics probes in the last eight years, was in White Plains Federal Court on Tuesday to plead guilty to a pair of misdemeanor counts of willfully failing to file federal income tax returns in 2003 and 2011.

In 1998, Davis purchased a rental property on East Sandford Boulevard that would burn down and then be later rebuilt. In 2003, the mayor sold that building but failed to report the sale to the Internal Revenue Service. He also admitted to knowingly failing to file a personal federal income tax in 2011, when he earned more than $106,000.

Additionally, court papers note that Davis failed to report the rental income of the location for nearly a decade, but he will not be charged for that offense as part of his plea agreement.

While his charges call for a maximum of two years in prison, a letter filed by the office of United States Attorney Preet Bharara, who prosecuted the case, stated they have recommended a sentence of zero to six months and a fine of up to $10,000 – decidedly less than the $100,000 maximum fine Davis could face. He must also pay the taxes he dodged.

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.

Davis will be sentenced on Monday, Jan. 26, at U.S. District Court in White Plains.

“At this point, I think that he has to step down, it’s only right,” city resident Curtis James said near City Hall on Tuesday. “We’ve had a tough run around here lately, maybe getting some new leadership can breathe some fresh breath into this (city).”

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