Ex-Mount Vernon fire commissioner: City is ignoring workplace harassment lawsuit

Posted: Updated:

Former Fire Commissioner Ernest Richardson says he's fed up with the City of Mount Vernon for delaying his workplace harassment lawsuit against former Mayor Richard Thomas, Capt. Michael St. John and the former Chief of Operations Al-Farid Salahuddin.

So far, the city does not have any representation and, by law, cannot represent itself. The case has been pushed back twice already – once on Sept. 16 and again earlier this month.

Richardson says the city hasn’t responded to the lawsuit and is “ignoring it like it doesn’t exist.”

Richardson filed the case, claiming that he endured months of verbal abuse. He says he received threats after refusing to rehire Mayor Thomas' brother, which ultimately led to him leaving his post as commissioner for a lesser rank of firefighter.

"I'm subordinate to them, and they use their ranking position as leverage to try to harass me," Richardson told News 12.

The 16-year member of the Mount Vernon Fire Department says he just wants to go to work in peace. His attorney is asking the court to make a decision if the city doesn’t find representation in the case by Nov. 5.

News 12 has reached out to the city of Mount Vernon for comment. It has previously declined to comment about the case.

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