“We're dealing with it discreetly." Mt. Vernon mayor addresses PPP kickback scheme
Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard delivered her first State of City address Wednesday night as a dark cloud looms over Mount Vernon.
Following her address, Mayor Patterson-Howard says the city is now doing an internal investigation into an alleged kickback scheme that could involve up to 100 city employees - including high-ranking city officials, 25 police officers and at least 12 firefighters.
Sources say Paycheck Protection Program applications were filled out, falsely stating the workers were business owners in need of financial support because of the pandemic.
News 12 is being told employees gave their personal information to a ringleader, who filled out the applications for them and got a kickback.
A memo from the mayor’s office was sent out Tuesday to city directors that says anyone involved in the scheme involved needs to contact designated officials, saying, in part, people who "applied for and/or received a loan, grant, or any form of payment" related to the pandemic "that required you pay a portion of the disbursement back as an application fee."
The mayor is not commenting on whether anyone has come forward at this time. "This information is impacting our city right now, and we want to make sure that we're dealing with it but we're dealing with it discreetly."
The mayor still says she hasn't heard from the feds or law enforcement, but her team will cooperate if they reach out.