Residents rally after Mount Vernon mayor files suit against current, ex-officials

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MOUNT VERNON -

Residents rallied Monday just days after an attorney for Mount Vernon's embattled mayor filed a federal lawsuit against current and former city officials.

The city of Mount Vernon filed a federal lawsuit alleging corruption by former Mayor Ernie Davis, former Comptroller Maureen Walker, former Planning Commissioner Jaime Martinez, former Police Commissioner Bob Kelley and two City Council members.

The former mayor and other past city officials have fired back against the allegations of fraud after the suit was filed by the city attorney.

Davis tells News 12 that he believes Mayor Richard Thomas is trying to divert attention from his own case. Thomas is currently facing grand larceny charges.

"It's a bad situation with him at the helm. Six months ago he did the same thing and it was thrown out," he said.

In the civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, the city is alleging Davis and others forged documents, stole records and mismanaged $6 million in federal housing funds related to the city's Urban Renewal Agency(URA).

The attorney representing the city says Mayor Thomas was the one who helped discover the alleged misuse of federal funds by Davis, Walker and Martinez. The suit also claims that City Council members Andre Wallace and Marcus Griffith broke into Martinez's URA office in 2016, stole important files, and then covered it all up with the help of then-Police Commissioner Robert Kelly.

Former Commissioner Kelly called the lawsuit a desperate measure by a desperate man to deflect attention from his alleged criminal conduct and corruption charges.

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