Crisis at City Hall: Mount Vernon mayor a 'no show' 1 day after being ousted

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MOUNT VERNON -

Mayor Richard Thomas was a 'no show' at City Hall Thursday after the City Council voted to remove him from office.

The City Council voted unanimously on the legislation that removed Thomas from office on Wednesday, and immediately swore in City Council President Andre Wallace as interim mayor. Officials say according to the city charter, they have every right to enforce this after Thomas pleaded guilty in his corruption case earlier this week.

Thomas pleaded guilty on Monday to two misdemeanors, and City Council members say that according to the city charter, that guilty plea or admission requires him to immediately step down.

However, Thomas's plea deal from the state attorney general's office doesn't call for him to step down until Sept. 30. Still, council members say they have every legal right to enforce the charter despite the plea deal. The legislation also calls on the city comptroller to stop Thomas' salary and benefits.

MORE: Mount Vernon deals with political aftershocks of mayor’s plea deal 
MORE: Residents unsure of Mount Vernon's future as leadership hangs in the balance

According to a memo by corporation counsel, the City Council's legislation is unenforceable.

News 12 reached out to Thomas, who sent a statement saying, "The City Council's illegal coup d'etat confirms there is an organized effort to undermine democracy in Mount Vernon and hide the truth about the "undocumented" $95 million in loans by past administrations. These are the same people that won't vote for garbage trucks nor toilet paper for seniors, yet they illegally anoint themselves as Mayor. Get ready for another waste of time and money on unnecessary litigation."

Once the 24-hour deadline is up, Wallace says he will be coming to work Friday morning to lead the city. Wallace is running in November to permanently hold the position. Despite losing the primary, the Democrat will be running on the Republican line.

Under the plea deal, Thomas has until Sept. 30 to leave.

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