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Mt. Vernon mayor petitions state Supreme Court in hopes of finding info on Memorial Field

Area that was to undergo renovations became toxic material dumping ground


MOUNT VERNON — Memorial field continues to stir controversy as Mayor Richard Thomas takes action against his predecessor and his sitting comptroller, among others in hopes to get to the bottom of what happened.

The field closed for reconstruction 11 years ago when the city and the county agreed on a $12 million renovation plan. But when the former mayor, Ernie Davis, was re-elected, that plan quickly changed.

A recent Journal News article revealed former Mayor Davis had a handshake deal with contractors working on the renovations and allowed them to dump material at the field, which he was never told was toxic.

Now, the Department of Environmental Conservation says whatever that material was contaminated the field.

Today, the current Mayor Richard Thomas announced a plan to try and learn more about what has happened at the field.

“So, that’s why we’re taking action issuing subpoenas and petitioning the court to join our action to bring people forward to share vital information, starting with former Mayor Davis all the way down to former employees of the city that have critical knowledge and awareness of what really happened here,” Thomas said.

The mayor filed a petition on Friday with the state's Supreme Court in hopes of gaining information and paperwork from current and former elected officials in regards to memorial field. Thomas said many documents are missing from city hall.

“They all had some form of knowledge or input to this, especially former Mayor Davis. So we expect to hold them accountable for the cost of removing this dirt. While the city may have to pay some money up front, we fully expect them to pay the bill,” Mayor Thomas said.

When asked about the petition Mayor Thomas announced on Friday, former Mayor Ernie Davis told the Journal News it's unnecessary. He said:

"Everything went through a process. There were no secrets. He was on the council. He knows how to stop stuff but he doesn't know how to do anything."

Maureen Walker, the city comptroller who the mayor is also requesting to be subpoenaed, told another publication:

"Any payment that I have made to any contractor would've been made based on a Board of Estimate and Contract vote … Also, the department head would have authorized that payment based on the work the department has overseen."

For now, Memorial Field and the politics behind it remain in disarray.



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