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Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas, who recently pled guilty to stealing campaign funds, and who must resign by the end of September, is accusing the Mount Vernon City Council of trying to oust him in an "illegal takeover." Here is what Mayor Thomas had to say about the situation.

"Last week the Mount Vernon City Council began an illegal takeover of the Mayor's Office in a final attempt to undermine my administration. State Attorney General Letitia James agreed that I will continue serving as your Mayor until September 30, 2019 and that condition was made part of the court order that ended a court case against me. The City Council has decided to ignore that court order in the same way that the governor of Arkansas decided to ignore a court order to integrate the schools in Little Rock. President Eisenhower made that governor comply with the court decision. Will Attorney General James, who rightly proclaimed that no one is above the law, prevent the City Council from undermining the court decision in my case?

"Andre Wallace is betting that all her words about the law are just for political show and that she won't do a thing. So far, given her complete silence, his gamble is paying off. But that only proves what I've said all along. The case against me was never about the law, otherwise my case would have been handled administratively by the State Board of Elections. My prosecution was all about the dirty power politics used to overturn your overwhelming 2015 vote for me to tackle Mount Vernon's deep seated corruption.

"Remember how the City Council immediately removed Ernie Davis after he was sentenced for federal tax evasion because his sentence made no mention at all of remaining in office? Neither do I. It's all dirty power politics.

"Even without that specific court order specifying my last day as your Mayor, the City Council simply does not have the legal authority to remove me. The Governor does and so would the State Attorney General upon proper application to the court. But Attorney General James agreed to the September 30 date and that should have ended the matter and allowed for a smooth transition.

"Instead, the City Council wants to sow new chaos. It is now deliberately ignoring earlier court decisions to stop interfering with the staffing and salaries of the executive branch of City government. Why is the City Council doing this to the people of Mount Vernon?

"For Andre Wallace, it's simple: he finished dead last in a primary that was rigged but just not in his favor. This is the only way he could ever be Mayor. But who else benefits? The very people who you elected to keep away from City government and its finances. This latest power grab is part of a strategy to delay, demoralize and undermine all attempts to hold accountable those who have ripped off our City for so many years. They want access to the millions of money that will come to repair our sewers, to rebuild Memorial Field and all the other projects I've been working on in the face of continuous obstruction. Their sham budget was deliberately passed to hold the City hostage. With a City Comptroller eager to do its bidding, the City Council has even put everyone's health at risk with its refusal to fix our garbage trucks. And so it goes.

"If our State officials are too disinterested, fearful or compromised to uphold the rule of law and stand up to an out of control City Council, then it is up to the People to let their voices be heard. And what you should say loud and clear is 'You all work for us. Rich Thomas is our Mayor until September 30, as agreed to by Attorney General James. End of story. To the City Council: Stop creating problems and try working with Mayor Thomas to fix them instead. That's what we elected you to do. Get to work."

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