Mt. Vernon mayor's critics go to court

More than a month before voters head to the ballot boxes, the race for Mount Vernon mayor was being fought at the Westchester County Court Monday.

Community activist Samuel Rivers filed a lawsuit to get incumbent Democratic Mount Vernon Mayor Ernie Davis' name off the ballot, saying that Davis shouldn't be allowed to run again after the mayor pleaded guilty to tax-evasion charges related to his personal finances.

But the judge sounded reluctant to remove Davis from the ballot, saying that the public should decide whether the mayor is unfit for office. Davis' supporters agree. They say even if Davis had been removed from office, the law wouldn't prevent him from seeking re-election.

"It's just a publicity thing," says Westchester County Democratic Committee Chairman Reggie LaFayette. "It's not really something dealing with the law."

The mayor's attorney, Arthur Greig, says the court doesn't have the jurisdiction to remove Davis' name because the lawsuit was brought under the wrong section of law.

Still, Rivers says Davis' name should be removed and that voters would still have the option to choose him because Davis could run as a write-in candidate.

Both sides are due back in court Tuesday. The judge said he expects to rule by Friday.

The primary election is Sept. 10.

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