Battle for Mount Vernon mayor goes to state Supreme Court

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WHITE PLAINS -

A battle for power in Mount Vernon went to the state Supreme Court on Friday afternoon.

Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas and acting Mayor Andre Wallace were both in a courtroom in White Plains Friday. Thomas is suing Wallace, the City Council and Mount Vernon Comptroller Deborah Reynolds for allegedly conducting an illegal "coup d'état" to oust him from office.

Thomas insists he is the only legitimate mayor and wants to remain in office until Sept. 30. That's the date that was set in a plea deal with the state attorney general in his corruption case. City leaders say the city's charter supersedes any plea deal with the AG.

Thomas requested a temporary restraining order on Wallace to stop him from illegally performing governmental duties such as writing checks and firing employees.

"These actions are illegal, unnecessary, disruptive, embarrassing, and directly interfere with the day to day operations of municipal government and my ability to discharge my statutory duties as mayor," says Mayor Thomas. "The unnecessary confusion has also injured the city's ability to conduct business. We will not tolerate immature extremists interpreting the law at the expense of the people."

Lawyers for Wallace and Reynolds argued that when Thomas pleaded guilty to two campaign finance related misdemeanors on July 8, he essentially vacated his position. The City Council insisted his conviction violated a section of the city charter, which requires officers of the city to vacate their position when crimes are committed.

"The facts are on our side," Wallace said. "The facts are on the people's side, the law is on our side. When you don't have those things on your side, you scream 'illegal coup.' That's all the defense he has."

The judge denied Mayor Thomas' request for a temporary restraining order. He also demanded that all sides returned to court on Wednesday.

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