Mount Vernon mayor’s felon half-brother wants more pension money

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Henry George Thomas was convicted of illegally selling handguns and quit his firefighting job. Henry George Thomas was convicted of illegally selling handguns and quit his firefighting job.
MOUNT VERNON -

A former Mount Vernon firefighter will receive his disability pension from the state despite a federal firearms conviction -- and he's also the mayor's half-brother.

But now a number of residents have voiced anger over the revelation that he wants even more money from the government.

"I believe that if you were caught committing a crime you should not be awarded any money from the state," says Francisco Peralta.

Helmut Bowling, a former postal worker, says he would lose his pension if he had a similar conviction.

As News 12 has reported, Henry George Thomas was convicted of illegally selling handguns and quit his firefighting job. Then he received a 50 percent pension on May 9 and will receive retroactive pay for the last 18 months.

Now, further angering city residents, his attorney says he's seeking to have his pension increased to 75 percent. He is appealing the matter in Albany, seeking an accidental disability retirement due to work-related injury, they lawyer says.

"Takes some nerve I'll tell you that," says Bowling, the former postal worker.

Despite the felony conviction, Thomas is entitled to his pension so long as he is not incarcerated. He received a sentence of probation for the federal gun charges. And on top of all of that, he's suing the city for $10 million.

The pension payments are not the first controversy linked to Thomas' conviction. In April 2016, News 12 obtained documents that stated Mount Vernon fired its commissioner of public safety, Robert Kelly, because he would not reinstate Thomas. The mayor denied that allegation.

Neither Mayor Richard Thomas nor the city's fire commissioner responded to requests for comment.

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