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Feuding Mount Vernon Officials Go To Trial Over Emergency Operations Center

The Third Street Firehouse in Mount Vernon.
The Third Street Firehouse in Mount Vernon. Photo Credit: File

The long-brewing feud over work done by a Mount Vernon City Councilman’s contracting company on the emergency operations center is heading to trial.

Mount Vernon officials announced late last year that Westchester County Supreme Court Judge Sam Walker refused to dismiss a claim that Councilman Andre Wallace’s company’s work on the project was defective, and the issue would come to head at a trial.

The two sides appeared in Westchester Supreme Court on Tuesday, and when the two couldn't reach an agreement, a trial date was scheduled for Monday, April 16.

Before he became a councilman in 2015, Wallace’s company, Creative Direction Construction and Design performed work at the Third Street Firehouse for the emergency operations center. However, after the city allegedly failed to pay more than $200,000 for the work, Wallace sued when Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas blocked payment.

Walker previously granted Wallace’s motion for summary judgment in the sum of $234,065.09, but denied his motion seeking dismissal of the city’s counterclaim. Walker required payment to be stalled until an independent investigation into the issue could be completed.

According to the lawsuit, Wallace is arguing that the city has failed to produce any evidence to support their claim, and a final walkthrough and inspection of the work determined the work was not defective. The city is arguing that “the work (Wallace’s company completed) is defective, deficient, unacceptable and not in accordance with local building and fire code requirements.

“The City of Mount Vernon is gratified that Judge Sam Walker has recognized the deficiencies in Councilman Andre Wallace’s work at the Third Street Firehouse,” Larry Porcari, Corporation Counsel, said in a statement. “Mount Vernon, and its residents, have been ripped off for far too long by disreputable contractors and consultants who want to make a quick buck off our city. Accountability is back in City Hall and we will not let taxpayers be bilked out of the value they deserve.”

“We look forward to taking this contractor to trial. The city remains troubled by the recent news reports that the independent engineering firm, Universal Engineering Services, was pressured by Councilman Wallace to alter the results of their independent review of the site. We are currently reviewing this allegation and will refer the matter to outside authorities as necessary.”

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