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Old 07-08-2019, 10:59 AM
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Default (Black) Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas pleads guilty to stealing campaign money


Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas pleads guilty to stealing campaign money
By Max Jaeger
July 8, 2019 | 12:38pm | Updated July 8, 2019 | 1:43pm

Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas on Monday copped to stealing money from his own campaign and lying about it to state officials — as he was ordered to resign and stay away from politics for a year, authorities announced.

Thomas raided his Friends of Richard Thomas war chest to the tune of $13,000 during his 2015 election — using the cash for personal niceties including car payments, a $2,000 Chanel purse and a $114 meal at Bubba Gump Shrimp, prosecutors said.

“By using campaign funds to line his own pockets, Mayor Thomas broke the law, and violated public trust,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James, who investigated the case along with state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

“New Yorkers put their faith in our public servants, and Mayor Thomas’ gross violation of that faith constitutes the utmost disloyalty to those he was sworn to serve. My office will continue to root out public corruption, uphold the integrity of public office, and bring bad actors to justice at every level of government throughout New York,” James continued.

Thomas also lied to state officials by knowingly filing false financial disclosures to the Board of Elections that failed to note a $4,000 payment he received from his campaign. Additionally, he claimed a $2,500 payment was a reimbursement, despite having never lent the campaign the money.

He pleaded guilty on Monday to third-degree attempted grand larceny and second-degree offering a false instrument — both misdemeanors.

Thomas must now step down by Sept. 30 and pay back the $13,000. He is also barred from holding elected or appointed public office for the next year.

He was indicted in March of last year, but tried to get the case tossed after disgraced then-AG Eric Schneiderman stepped down amid a sex abuse scandal.

Thomas was elected in 2015 after unseating then-Mayor Ernest Davis, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to filing a false tax return.
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