Convicted Mount Vernon former mayor Richard Thomas begs Hochul for forgiveness in conspiracy-filled letter

A former Westchester County mayor convicted of stealing campaign funds is seeking a full pardon from Governor Kathy Hochul, The Post has learned.

Richard Thomas, mayor of Mount Vernon from 2016 to 2019, sent a conspiracy-filled letter dated Tuesday claiming that the investigation that led to his guilty plea and ousting from office was improperly launched by many senior state officials who wanted him out.

The letter is 537 pages long with various attachments including memes, visual aids like a photo of the Bill of Rights hanging in his old office – and political cartoons depicting him illustrated by a former staffer.

Thomas defended the length of his request, saying “there is no shortcut” to explaining his hometown’s corruption issues and how he ended up being a victim.

“This situation can’t fit in a TikTok,” Thomas told the Post. “We’re counting on the Governor to fix this and really fix Mount Vernon, fix the problem and hopefully fix me – because I’ve been needlessly broken by powerful forces who wanted to keep spending Mount Vernon’s money. Vernon.”

The former mayor, who never spent time behind bars as part of his guilty plea, said he felt vindicated by a scathing audit released by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli last month . He concluded that a rival of Thomas’s at City Hall issued millions through unauthorized electronic payments and failed to pay certain bonds on time, if at all.

But Thomas still blames DiNapoli and the state attorney general’s office for ignoring his calls to investigate former city comptroller Deborah Reynolds and other issues in the city from there. 70,000 years old when it claimed to sound the horn. In one of the cartoons attached to his letter, Thomas is pictured using weed killer labeled “truth, justice, transparency” and chopping down weeds and corruption while snakes lunge at him.

A DiNapoli spokesperson noted that the office had conducted several audits of the struggling city’s books.

“The former mayor pleaded guilty to multiple misdemeanors and admitted in court to stealing approximately $13,000 from his campaign,” communications director Jennifer Freeman told The Post. “Our office has performed multiple financial and operational audits over the years of the city, including one published just a few weeks ago. The current mayor and council have accepted our findings and recommendations and are acting on them.

Thomas was the youngest mayor in Mount Vernon’s history when he took office aged 33 in 2016, but two years into his first term he was arrested and slapped with a mob charges, including grand theft. His guilty plea in 2019 on misdemeanor charges, including his admission that he wrongfully spent $12,900 from his campaign committee and agreed to leave office.

He said he accepted the appeal to protect his family and avoid the possibility of a prison sentence. But since his conviction, he has blamed the charges on clerical errors that he should have been able to correct without criminal charges. Thomas had unsuccessfully tried to have his case thrown out in court when former state attorney general Eric Schneiderman resigned amid a sex abuse scandal, claiming the office lacked jurisdiction.

Thomas is also asking Hochul to pardon former senior aide and Mount Vernon city attorney Lawrence Porcari, who was sentenced to 1-3 years behind bars for using $360,000 in city council money. water supply to pay for Thomas’ lawyers and a public relations service. closed after the ex-mayor was arrested, reported The Journal News.

Porcari’s case is on appeal and he is not a signatory to the letter, which is addressed to Hochul and the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s Clemency Executive Office, which would review the request and would forward to the governor if the application is deemed eligible.

“What happened to us was wrong and was retaliation from bigger, darker and dirtier political forces,” Thomas wrote in his letter. “A pardon can begin the process of restoring our good name and giving us another chance to live a normal life…It will also show that your administration is willing to act and not be content with empty rhetoric of clean and ethical government. .”

A spokesperson for Hochul said the office could not discuss Thomas’ specific request.

“While we cannot comment on pending clemency applications because the process is confidential, Governor Hochul is committed to improving justice, fairness and safety in the criminal justice system, and we are reviewing applications in this context,” said Hazel Crampton-Hays, a Hochul spokeswoman.

New York Post

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