Mount Vernon Board of Ethics hits mayor with $5K civil penalty

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MOUNT VERNON -

The Mount Vernon Board of Ethics hit Mayor Richard Thomas with a new lawsuit, ordering him to pay up for discrepancies in his 2017 financial disclosure statement.

According to a lawsuit filed Feb. 1, the city board is imposing a $5,000 civil penalty for the alleged discrepancy. The Board of Ethics revealed what it called areas of concern in Thomas' finances. That includes two of the mayor's relatives employed by the city, who the board claims requested their positions and salaries.

The board also sought details on a significant loan the mayor received, three gifts and the source of funds he used to pay for a home.

The board imposed a civil penalty last September. Thomas' attorney requested an extension and, by December, court documents show it was never paid.

News 12 spoke with Thomas' attorney. He called the lawsuit baseless, adding, "It's simply politically motivated slander, it's really not worth the paper it's written on. Mayor Thomas has always made full financial disclosures."

Thomas' ethics have been scrutinized already -- he is awaiting trial on claims he stole more than $12,000 in campaign funds.

The Board of Ethics was created to review disclosure forms on all the city's elected officials. The mayor's attorney says the board is made up of political opponents.

A state judge is giving Thomas until the end of the month to detail why he should not pay up.

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