Mount Vernon mayor to deliver State of the City days after arrest

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MOUNT VERNON -

Mayor Richard Thomas will deliver his State of the City address tomorrow to a Mount Vernon community coming to grips with the allegations against him.

The 35-year-old mayor was arrested Monday for corruption and charged by the state attorney general with using his campaign and inauguration funds as his own personal piggy bank. He allegedly spent tens of thousands of dollars on his rent, car payments and in one case, a $2,000 Chanel purse.

Thomas insists he's innocent, but there is a growing chorus of residents calling on the mayor to resign.

Prominent clergy members like the Rev. Troy DeCohen are calling on the city to unite.

“It’s a sad time for the city, as clergy, we pray for the mayor and his family,” he says.

Reginald Lafayette, the chairman of Mount Vernon’s Democratic party, has worked in city politics for more than three decades. In all those years, he says he never seen a corruption scandal as big as the one Thomas is currently embroiled in

“Anytime you do something like this, if he's guilty, you've betrayed the people's trust,” he says.

Despite the allegations, the mayor says he will fight the charges. He's due back in court in May. Until then, Thomas says he will focus on the city's business.

The State of the City address had been scheduled for Thursday but was abruptly moved up to 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Council chambers.

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