State AG: Mayor Thomas used city money to pay for criminal lawyersPosted: Updated:
Attorneys for the New York Attorney General's Office leveled new accusations Wednesday against Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas, who is already under criminal indictment.
Thomas was accused of six felonies for allegedly misusing campaign funds, then failing to report it. In a new letter written to the judge in that case, the Attorney General’s Office is accusing the mayor of using money from a city department to pay his personal criminal attorneys.
When pressed about the new accusations, Mayor Thomas said, “What I can tell you is what I said. My attorney is going to answer all those questions and that's the right thing to do.”
Thomas' new legal team are also the subject of controversy. They are his third set of lawyers this year. Two of the three layers live in Florida and have close ties to one of the mayor's top advisers, Joe Speezio.
The Attorney General’s Office believes the lawyers could pose a potential conflict of interest and could violate legal rules, because Speezio could be called as a witness in the trial. News 12 reached attorney Mike Pizzi by phone. He believes the charges are without merit and an attempt to smear the mayor.
He called the letter “a red herring.”
Mayor Thomas faces a judge next week. His legal team could be asked to address these new allegations.