Mt. Vernon council president accused of collecting welfare

The Mount Vernon City Council president is reportedly under investigation by the state Department of Labor regarding accusations that she received unemployment benefits while working for the city.

Karen Watts became president in January, but has been an elected member of the council since 2000.

Published reports suggest that Watts owes more than $20,000 in unpaid property taxes on her North Columbus Avenue home, dating back to 2009. Watts has reportedly received some $33,000 in income in her position as council president over the past year, while possibly collecting unemployment.

Spokespersons for the Mount Vernon Mayor's Office and the Department of Labor declined to comment on the case.

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