Suit accuses ex-mayor and officials of forgery, mismanagement

Posted: Updated:
MOUNT VERNON -

An independent attorney for the city of Mount Vernon alleges in a civil lawsuit that former Mayor Ernie Davis and other officials forged documents, stole records and mismanaged $6 million in federal housing funds related to the city's Urban Renewal Agency.

The suit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court. Initial issues with the URA funds were uncovered in January 2016 by current Mayor Richard Thomas after he took office. It was uncovered that vital information regarding the the status of the agency with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had been actively concealed from his office and the citizens of Mount Vernon.

City attorney Frank Acocella said Saturday that Mt. Vernon Mayor Thomas, who himself is currently facing grand larceny charges, was the one who helped discover the alleged misuse of federal funds by ex-Mayor Davis, former City Comptroller Maureen Walker and former Planning Commissioner Jaime Martinez.

The civil suit also claims that City Council members Andre Wallace and Marcus Griffith broke into Martinez's URA office in 2016 to steal important files, and afterward allegedly covered it up with the help of Police Commissioner Robert Kelly.

"The coverup began when Police Commissioner Kelly told officers not to arrest Griffith, Wallace and Martinez," says Acocella. "More incredibly, Griffith, Wallace and Martinez were allowed to leave with the files from the office."

Attorneys for the city would not answer any questions other than to say the investigation is ongoing.

  • Suit accuses ex-mayor and officials of forgery, mismanagementMore>>

  • Mount Vernon’s top lawyer asks City Council to appoint independent inspector

    Mount Vernon’s top lawyer asks City Council to appoint independent inspector

    Tuesday, March 27 2018 5:32 PM EDT2018-03-27 21:32:01 GMT
    Mount Vernon’s top lawyer asks City Council to appoint independent inspectorMount Vernon’s top lawyer asks City Council to appoint independent inspector
    Mount Vernon’s top lawyer asks City Council to appoint independent inspectorMount Vernon’s top lawyer asks City Council to appoint independent inspector

    Lawrence Pocari, Mount Vernon's top lawyer, is taking aim at the Board of Ethics after it accused the mayor of illegally collecting money from a school.

    Lawrence Pocari, Mount Vernon's top lawyer, is taking aim at the Board of Ethics after it accused the mayor of illegally collecting money from a school.

  • Mount Vernon mayor charged with misusing campaign funds

    Mount Vernon mayor charged with misusing campaign funds

    Monday, March 12 2018 10:11 PM EDT2018-03-13 02:11:56 GMT
    From the steps of City Hall, the mayor vowed that he would be vindicated and pledged not to let the case distract him from his mayoral duties.From the steps of City Hall, the mayor vowed that he would be vindicated and pledged not to let the case distract him from his mayoral duties.
    From the steps of City Hall, the mayor vowed that he would be vindicated and pledged not to let the case distract him from his mayoral duties.From the steps of City Hall, the mayor vowed that he would be vindicated and pledged not to let the case distract him from his mayoral duties.

    Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas surrendered to police Monday on charges that he used campaign funds for his own personal benefit.

    Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas surrendered to police Monday on charges that he used campaign funds for his own personal benefit.

  • SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Your Oct. 16 storm photos

    Your Oct. 16 storm photos

    Storm photos Oct. 17Storm photos Oct. 17
    Storm photos Oct. 17Storm photos Oct. 17
    Heavy right and high winds swept through the tri-state area due to a large coast storm on the night of Oct. 16. Here are your photos from the storm.
    Heavy right and high winds swept through the tri-state area due to a large coast storm on the night of Oct. 16. Here are your photos from the storm.
  • Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
  • Guide: Entertainment Venues in the Tri-State Area

    Guide: Entertainment Venues in the Tri-State Area

    Looking for a place to listen to some music or see a local play? Here is a list of concert venues in the Tri-state area.
    Looking for a place to listen to some music or see a local play? Here is a list of concert venues in the Tri-state area.
sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."