Mount Vernon mayor: 'I will be fully vindicated'

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MOUNT VERNON -

The mayor of Mount Vernon delivered his third State of the City address Wednesday and touted a decline in serious crime despite his own arrest on federal corruption charges.

Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas appeared before the City Council to deliver his annual address Wednesday night for his first big public appearance since he was arraigned on criminal charges Monday.

Thomas denied the charges related to alleged misuse of money from his campaign and inaugural committees. He said the campaign finance laws he's accused of breaking are badly written, vague, and confusing.  "It's always my intention to do what is legal and ethical, throughout the campaign I was advised by my council so I'm confident that when all this is sorted out I will be fully vindicated."

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the charges against Mayor Thomas on Monday. Schneiderman said he was not ruling out the possibility that additional people could be charged and that the investigation was continuing.

The mayor also spoke about the city's accomplishments, saying crime is down in every category across the board. He also talked about a series of high-profile development projects expected to improve the city's train stations and South Side. He also promised to reopen Memorial Field by the summer and said real estate values were thriving. "Homeowners are receiving 95 percent of their asking prices," he said. "This speaks directly to Mount Vernon's desirability as a place to live."

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