Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas has pleaded not guilty to the latest charges levied against him in Westchester County Court.
At his arraignment Friday morning, Thomas pleaded not guilty to four felony counts of grand larceny that claim he allegedly stole from his campaign fund while running for office several years ago. He was indicted by a grand jury last week.
Thomas was arrested 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.
The charges include multiple counts of grand larceny, a felony that is punishable by prison time, as well as filing a false statement. 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.
The mayor has vehemently denied all allegations against him during his tenure in office.
“The allegations are merely accusations with no supporting evidence,” 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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