MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - A Mount Vernon City Councilman is under fire after the city filed a lawsuit against him claiming he failed to complete work on the city’s Emergency Operations Center.
On Tuesday, city officials announced that they had filed an answer in litigation between the city and Councilman Andre Wallace, claiming his contracting company was paid nearly $1 million and failed to complete work on the EOC and falsified payroll records.
According to the filings in 'Creative Direction Construction and Design v. City of Mount Vernon,' “contractor Andre Wallace did not pay workers the prevailing wage required by law.” Former workers on the project have joined the lawsuit, submitting affidavits that they were underpaid and sometimes not paid at all.
According to the city, Wallace’s firm was paid close to $1 million to construct an EOC at one of the city’s firehouses which remains inoperable and was described as “defective and non-compliant” in court documents.
Wallace could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.
Acting Fire Commissioner Ernie Richardson said that the lights aren’t operable, the elevator doesn’t turn on, the roof leaks and there are multiple exposed wires. There is also reportedly scaffolding in the back of the site that has yet to be recovered.
“The Mount Vernon Fire Department has known for a long time that the conditions in the emergency operations center are a disaster and we have demanded that contractor Andre Wallace fix the situation,” acting Fire Commissioner Ernie Richardson said. “The fact that workers were cheated out of their pay is infuriating. This contractor has screwed the city and honest, hard-working people out of their money. He has stolen the use of the emergency operations center from the firefighters, police officers, and first responders who need to protect the city.
“I hope this lawsuit brings an end to this terrible situation. New York City was able to fine this contractor for his illegal activities and I hope Mount Vernon is able to do the same.”