Judge urges Richard Thomas to drop lawsuit; says he forfeited his office

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The court urged Richard Thomas on Wednesday to drop his litigation against the City Council for voting him out as mayor of Mount Vernon.

Judge Lawrence Ecker said when Thomas pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors on July 8, he immediately forfeited office according to the city charter. The ruling officially makes Andre Wallace the acting mayor of the city.

Thomas has the legal right to pursuit his case, but Judge Ecker made it clear that he doesn't have a strong case and should instead look into finding a new source of income to support his family.

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Wallace says even if Thomas doesn't listen to the judge's recommendation, he has to leave City Hall.

"As of now, he has continued to be a squatter,” said Wallace. “Hopefully by the time we get back to City Hall, he had packed up his things and left."

If Thomas doesn't leave, Wallace says the police will have to move him out.

Jeffrey D. Buss, the attorney for Mayor Richard Thomas, said that Thomas asked him to "reach out to the attorneys for the City Council and Mr. Wallace to negotiate an amicable resolution of the leadership dispute in Mount Vernon." 

He continued, "In doing so, Mayor Thomas wants to ensure that the interests of the people of Mount Vernon come first, and the City is well positioned for the next elected Mayor.”

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