Owner claims vendetta drove mayor to order cupcake shop closed

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MOUNT VERNON -

A cupcake shop in Mount Vernon was ordered by the city to close its doors for alleged building violations, but the shop owner says she believes it was politically motivated.

The city of Mount Vernon moved to shut down the Cupcake Cutie Boutique Shop Friday, citing an expired certificate. But shop owner Miesha Stokely says city Mayor Richard Thomas has a vendetta against her family.

Stokely says her father, Damon Jones, is an open critic of the mayor in his paper, Black Westchester.

"The mayor sent the police here to intimidate us and they put yellow tape across the shop, and told me that if anyone comes in here they will get arrested," Stokely says.

A statement released by Mayor Richard Thomas's office said the surprise inspection was part of a city sweep.

News 12 has received no word on whether any other businesses were told to close.

Both the fire and buildings commissioner reportedly found a broken smoke alarm in Cupcake Cutie Boutique and discovered its certificate of tenancy had expired. The mayor's statement also said, "Issues were raised regarding whether the establishment had a certificate of occupancy. The answer is no and the subsequent action taken was to help them come into compliance."

However, Councilman Andre Wallace says that when Stokely opened up shop back in 2015, the city of Mount Vernon issued her temporary paperwork until her permanent documents came in. Wallace says it was the city of Mount Vernon's responsibility to send that to her, but three years later, the shop still hasn't received it.

According to Wallace, Mayor Thomas fired a building inspector on the spot Friday night for not forcing the shop to close down immediately. Wallace says it's not the first time the mayor has tried to close down a business because of personal conflicts.

"It's been done over and over and over. You know, we have Memorial Field, Kela Tennis now suing us for $27 million," Wallace says.

Mayor Thomas, who faces federal charges related to campaign spending, in June ordered a contracting company to shut down the Memorial Field Tennis Facility and tear down its bubble structure for allegedly not paying its lease. The owner's attorney has disputed that allegation.

Wallace says that time and again, Thomas has failed to follow the due process of law.

The owner of Cupcake Cutie Boutique is set to meet Monday morning with a building inspector to go over all of the required paperwork. In the meantime, the shop is open for business.

"I don't know what Mayor Richard Thomas has up his sleeve and his plans, but I'm not going to back down," Stokely says.

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