Business owners want probe into Mount Vernon mayor

A pair of business owners are asking for a state and federal investigation into Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas over what they call illegal actions.



The call comes after the owners filed a lawsuit against the city after their businesses were shut down.



Popular Mount Vernon meat market OK Freddy's has since reopened, but the owner is still upset. On Friday, he teamed up with community leaders to demand the probe, claiming the mayor illegally shut down the shop.



Owner Estrado Willis, also known as Freddy, says the city did not follow due process and closed his market for what he considers to be minor violations. However, Thomas says that minor violations become major problems, citing building explosions in New York City as an example.



Some residents believe the city shut down OK Freddy's to give part of the property to a developer. The lot in question is leased by Willis, who says it is used for grilling for his business, as well as parties.



The mayors says his motivation for shutting it down was simple. "They were operating an illegal business in Mount Vernon," Thomas says. "That's not going to happen anymore."



Still, residents say the market is a neighborhood staple and won't be going anywhere.


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