Sunday, October 18, 2009



Terrence Horton was appointed to DPW Commissioner in February 2008. This was yet another political patronage appointment by Mayor Clinton I. Young Jr.  Steve Horton, Brother of Terrence Horton, also serve on the Mount Vernon City Council.  There has been speculation that Steve Horton arranged for Terrence Horton to receive the job as DPW Commissioner.  In return, Steve Horton had to agree not to run in the mayoral race in 2007 and out his support behind Clinton Young.
The Horton Family is no stranger to drinking from the public till and siphoning away our tax dollars.  Joan Horton is employed by the City of Mount Vernon Department of Recreation, Terrence Horton is the embattled Commissioner of DPW, and Steve Horton serves as City Councilman in Mount Vernon and also as the Executive Director of the New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority.  Steve Horton also in the past has served as Deputy Commissioner of Buildings in Mount Vernon.  Councilman Horton also has two sons, Salim and Sharif that are employed by the Department of Public Works.  Joan Horton and her son, Councilman Steve Horton also serve as district leaders for district # 5, which means they are intertwined with the nefarious organization, The Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee.  District # 5 is also home to the crime scene of East 5th Street and Union Lane, where DPW Commissioner Terrence Horton has been pouring tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars into his personal beautification project.  It is safe to say the Joan and Steve Horton are taking care of their constituents in their election district. 

Commissioner Horton convicted of prior criminal offense
On Commissioner Horton’s employment application §6 –D the answer yes was supplied to the following question.  Have you ever been convicted of an offense against the law?  Mount Vernon Exposed tried to obtain the records under NYS Freedom of information law.   We were unable to obtain the criminal reports, but we received the following response from the City of Mount Vernon Law Department:  Please be advised that some incident reports you requested contains information relative to minor, or involved charges that were dismissed or disposed of in favor of the accused.  New York State Public Officer’s Law allows public entities to withhold such reports.   It is the City of Mount Vernon’s policy to deny such requests.  Therefore, we are unable to provide you with a copy of the requested reports.  Mount Vernon exposed disagrees with the determination of the City of Mount Vernon Law Department.  Information has surfaced, although not confirmed that Commissioner Horton is a convicted felon and may have even served time in State Prison.  We believe that the Mount Vernon City Charter grants access to the above mentioned record under the following provision.  Commissioner Horton carries a firearm on a daily basis.  If indeed he is a convicted felon, it is against Federal law for him to be in the possession of a firearm. 

§ 262. Books and papers to be public records. All books and papers and documents filed with or constituting a part of the records or proceedings of any officer, board or department of the City, shall be deemed to be public records and shall, during office hours, be open to public

Abuse of taxpayer dollars repaving sidewalks using City Workers
The Journal News has reported previously that Terrence Horton has violated the Teamsters Local 456 contract by hiring a private company to do work that DPW workers already do.  DPW workers who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that there was no tree damage and reported by Commissioner Horton and his trusted sidekick, DPW Supervisor Rudy Persaud.   A three year child can clearly see what is going on here in the City of Mount Vernon.  Mr. Horton is increasing the value of his neighborhood because he has future plans of developing a 42 Unit Condominium tower at 440 Franklin Avenue.  He would not be able to market these units to prospective buyers if the sidewalks were broken and the park on East 5th Street and Union Lane remained in a dilapidated condition.  We at Mount Vernon Exposed, under NYS Freedom of Information decided to look into the perfidious activities of Commissioner Horton.   We were shocked at our findings.  We requested in our foil to the City of Mount Vernon, “ all invoices for Bricks, Stones, and Cement ordered by or on behalf of DPW Commissioner Terrence Horton from January 1st 2008-July 31st 2009.’’  The City of Mount Vernon as usual tried to sequester this information.   It took a substantial amount of time to receive this basic information.  We had to file an appeal with the NYS Committee on Open Government to receive this information.     Our request was not granted in full.  What we received was invoices from January 2009-July 2009.  We were not supplied any invoiced from 2008.  The total amount of taxpayer dollars spent during the time period that we received invoices for was $41,610.64.  This was just spent on material.   Labor was already being paid by the taxpayers because Commissioner Horton was using DPW crews to do the labor.  If you take a drive by East 5th Street and Union Lane you cannot help but notice the fancy designs in the sidewalks and the newly constructed concrete pillars at the park that is hardly used by anyone.  During an interview with workers at the site, it was explained to us that they normally do not construct entire sidewalks and that these projects that they were assigned were out of the ordinary.

Journal News Article
Mount Vernon DPW commissioner defends sidewalk projects by his properties

MOUNT VERNON - The commissioner of the Department of Public Works has had city crews replace sidewalks and curbs near his personal properties in two separate projects since summer.

Terrence Horton insisted his role as a commissioner had no bearing on the selection of those projects and said both streets had hazards that needed to be addressed. The commissioner said he could not neglect problems on a street just because he lived there or owned property there.

"What would be equally embarrassing is if a commissioner has numerous problems and had not done anything about it," said Horton, who was appointed commissioner in March.

The DPW jobs took place near a senior citizen housing complex on 265 S. Columbus Ave. and a condominium complex at 434 Franklin Ave. that Horton's development company, QFI Inc., built and owns.

Typically, DPW evaluates a property after a citizen makes a complaint about sidewalk conditions, Horton said. After that, a supervisor will go look at the site and determine whether there is root damage caused by city trees and tripping hazards.

Taryn Vanderberg, a DPW timekeeper who has advised homeowners on sidewalk policy, said the department fixed only sidewalk damage caused by city trees; otherwise, the owner of the private property is responsible for the sidewalk replacement. The city typically replaces only the section of sidewalk where the root damage exists, she and other DPW workers said.

At Columbus Avenue, the work stretched for more than half a block across the street from the senior building. On Franklin Avenue, crews laid new sidewalk on large stretches of the block on both sides of the street.

DPW employees familiar with the projects maintained there was no root damage at either property. The workers declined to give their names.

Horton disputed the accounts of his employees. He and Public Works Supervisor Rudy Persaud showed a reporter pictures of broken sidewalks caused by root growth that they said were taken on Franklin Avenue, where the repairs were later made.

Horton also showed a copy of a letter sent through registered mail on Sept. 11 from a Franklin Avenue resident complaining about the condition of sidewalks on the block where work was done. The resident said trees had grown and uprooted sidewalks so the pavement was uneven and dangerous. She said she had gone to the city DPW offices many times to complain.

A constituent complaint log also shows there were several calls about sidewalk conditions on the block last year. Horton said the city prioritizes sites with documented citizen complaints so the city can avoid liability in court.

Horton also defended the work on Columbus Avenue, saying it was required because a tree had uprooted during a bad storm in May and lifted up part of the sidewalk.

Horton said that, as commissioner, he instituted a new policy whereby DPW fixes not just patches of broken sidewalk, but instead repairs larger stretches of sidewalk to make sure there is proper elevation, drainage and handicap accessibility. In the past, he said, patchwork repairs meant DPW crews often had to return to the same sites to fix problems, wasting time and resources.

"We unilaterally fix everything that needs to be done," he said.

Horton said the projects on Franklin and Columbus were among several completed since he took office, and that overall more than 2,000 linear feet of sidewalk had been replaced.

In a related matter, The Teamsters Local 456, which represents the city's DPW workers, has filed grievances with union management related to the sidewalk project on Franklin Avenue.

The union members charged that part of the sidewalk replacement work was done by a private contractor, M. Zonzini Pipeline Services of New Rochelle. They maintain it is a violation of their contract to have private companies do work that DPW union employees already do.

Horton said Zonzini was brought onto Franklin Avenue - and has worked at many other city projects - to do specialized work where manholes, storm drains and gas boxes are involved. He said he has helped DPW reduce its reliance on private contractors by instituting more training for his staff in quality control, site assessment and other skills.

Q.F.I Inc.
It is reported that Terrence Horton an officer of Q.F.I. Inc.  He can be seen throughout the normal busines day while using his city issued Ford Escape, at Q.F.I headquarters located at 12 E. 3rd Street.  One can speculate that he is running his business at the expense of taxpayers.  It has also been brought to our attention, although not verified, that City Councilman Steven Horton is a partner of Q.F.I.  Inc.  A search of the NYS Department of State records, Division of Corporations, lists Bruce L. Bozeman, P.C. an attorney in Mount Vernon located at 6 Gramatan Avenue, as the person registered to receive notices on behalf of Q.F.I. Inc.   If indeed that Steve Horton is a partner and/or an officer of Q.F.I Inc, he has violated the City Charter of Mount Vernon and several ethics laws and should be subject to criminal prosecution.  Many of Terrence Horton’s projects had to get the approval of the City Council.  One has to wonder did he abstain from voting on these projects. 

Canterbury Commons
Q.F.I. Inc also developed Canterbury Commons, a senior building located at 265 South Columbus Avenue.  This was also the site of a controversial sidewalk project.  The entire sidewalk located in front of Canterbury Commons was replaced.    Across the street from this location is another controversial project.  Mayor Young’s mother attends the Vernon Heights Congressional Church.  They too were recipients of brand new sidewalks.  This senior project was mostly entirely funded by tax payer dollars.

Proposed 42 Unit Multi-Family Building
Terrance Horton has approvals to build a 42 Unit Multi-family building adjacent to the property he owns located at 440 Franklin Ave.  Horton received the necessary zoning variances and site plan approval from the planning board about 2 years ago.  Terrence Horton cannot obtain the necessary financing to construct this project.  Horton has since returned to the Planning Board seeking to amend site plan resolution S-04-2008.  It is speculated, although not confirmed that he is has partnered up with a local church to build affordable, low income housing using taxpayer funds.

Qualifications of Commissioner Horton
A review of Terrence Horton Application indicates that he is not qualified to hold the position of DPW Commissioner.   Prior to Terence Horton establishing Q.F.I. Inc, he worked as a Project Journeyman at Wolf & Muneer from 1981-1988 in the HVAC field.  After his employment at Wolf & Muneer, Commissioner Horton moved on to become part of the maintenance team servicing turbines at NY State Power Authority at Indian Point.   Terrence Horton indicates on his resume that when he started Q.F.I that some of the work performed included: Demolition, excavation, concrete, rough carpentry, drywall and taping, painting, plumbing, electric, HVAC, etc.  A search with the Westchester County Clerk indicated that Commissioner Horton is not licensed to perform plumbing or electrical work.   All electrical and plumbing work performed by Commissioner Horton was performed illegally unless it was legally subcontracted to a licensed plumber or electrician. 

History of complaints that have gone unanswered
Mount Vernon Exposed has obtained a list of properties under NYS Freedom of information Law that have filed complaints with the Department of Public since Commissioner Horton has taken office.  The complaints are mostly for sidewalks that have been uprooted by trees belonging to the City of Mount Vernon.  We have spoken to some of these residents to inquire if their complaints have been answered.  All of the residents that we interviewed are females.  No part of Mount Vernon is discriminated against when it comes to the issue of answering complaints. 

Joan A. Bailey- 169 Hillside Avenue- Filed complaint over two years ago.  City of Mount Vernon water main failed at this location.  The sidewalk was broken by City of Mount Vernon crews to repair the water main.  Sidewalk has not been repaired and is unsafe and dangerous.  Homeowner is elderly.  Homeowner also stated to us that she has been calling for over a year to get a new recycling container.  Her calls for help have gone unanswered. 
Nora Marino- 146 Vista place- Filed complaint over a year ago.  City of Mount Vernon tree roots have caused sidewalk to raise and roots have also began to shift her plumbing pipes on her property line causing damage.  Sidewalk is unsafe and dangerous.  Homeowner is elderly.  Her calls for help have gone unanswered.
Melika Jones- 409-401 S. Fulton Avenue- Homeowner originally filed complaint in May 2007.  Homeowner attended City Council meeting on April 22nd, 2008 and voiced her concerns.  DPW Supervisor Rudy Persuad came out to do a visual inspection of property.  Persuad approved sidewalk to be fixed due to City of Mount Vernon tree causing sidewalk to rise.  Persaud told homeowner she was going to be added to the “list.”  Sidewalk is unsafe and dangerous.  Her calls for help have gone unanswered. 

Properties with unanswered complaints since January 1st, 2008
(*)  indicates multiple complaints on file with DPW
10 Lenox Avenue
437 E. 4th St
350 Packman Ave
403 Seneca Ave
95 Gramatan Ave
63 Dell Ave
99 Brookside Ave
83 Bateman Pl
435 N. Terrace
121 Claremont Ave *
24 Bushnell Pl
208 Hillcrest Rd
212 Hillcrest Rd
29 Fairway
9 Urban St
9 Adam St
15 South 14th Ave
114-120 E. Prospect
61 W. Grand St
130 E. Cedar St
428 Rich Ave
139 N. 6th Ave
401 S. 3rd Ave
427 Nuber Ave
441 Tecumseh Ave
737 Gramatan Ave
336 Rich Ave
135 Vista Place
18 Woodwood Ave
20 Wildwood Ave
418 Homestead Ave
561 S. 5th Ave
409-411 S. Fulton Ave
25-27 Overlook St.
34 William St.
Lincoln School Entire Perimeter
18-22 Short St.
576 E. Lincoln Ave
131 W. Lincoln Ave
84 Bateman Pl.
220 Franklin Ave
142 N. Terrace Ave
103. N. High St
36 Harding Pkwy
520 S. 7th Ave
31,33,35 N. Columbus
419 McClellan
106 E. Devonia
2-25 Duryea Ave (curb)
179 N. Fulton Ave
509 S. 10th Ave
531 N. Terrace Ave
330 Claremont
434 Bedford Ave **
415 Locust St *
120 E. Cedar
N 3rd Ave Side of Parking Garage
31 Farrell Ave
141 Archer Ave *
461 S. 10th Ave
54 Wildwood Ave
562 Gramatan Ave
172-174 Gramatan Ave
10 Lenox Ave
201 N. High St
169 Elm Ave
242 Bradley Ave
19 Pratt Ave **
24 N. 6th Ave
132 W. 2nd St
25 Archer
126 Oakley Ave
100 Grandview Ave
13 S. Bleeker
669 S. 5th Ave
100 Washington Pl.
91 Pennsylvania Ave
435 S. 8th Ave
262 Primrose Ave
116 E. Prospect Ave
61 North St
24 Farrell
102 Valentine St
12 W. 5th St
103 W. Sidney
131 E. Prospect
310 Franklin Ave
134 S. High St
289 Bedford Ave
632 S. 5th Ave
423 N. Fulton Ave
439 Tecumseh Ave
16 W. 4th St
131 N. 9th Ave
56 Washington Blvd
182 Hutchinson Blvd
168 N. Columbus Ave
236 Rich Ave
366 Livingston St
55 Clinton Pl
45 Drake St
169 Hillside Ave
531 S. 7th Ave
353 Egmont Ave
439 S. Columbus Ave
72 Elm Ave
146 Union Ave
13 Pease St
161 Primrose Ave
86 Magnolia Ave
548 S. 10th Ave
104 Frederick Pl
270 S. 5th Ave
33 Linden Ave
108-110 E. Prospect
366 Livingston St
22 Pease St
39 Labelle Rd ***
265 N. 7th Ave
519 Locust St.
651 Lafayette Ave
74 Hillcrest Rd
146 Vista Pl **

Findings of Fact
Mount Vernon Exposed has determined based on information provided to us, there is severe fraud, waste, and abuse by DPW Commissioner Terrence Horton.  There are several instances of impropriety.  Minutes of City Council Meetings that Q.F.I had project on the agenda must be obtained to verify if Steve Horton voted on above mentioned projects.  It is also come to our attention that Steve Horton is a possible officer and shareholder of Q. F.I. Inc and Canterbury Commons.  Invoices must be carefully scrutinized to make materials ordered are indeed used for City projects and to make sure that taxpayers are not financing the operations of Q.F.I Inc.  There are several instances of theft of services, official misconduct, wire fraud and mail fraud.  These activities can be classified as those pertaining to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (Rico Act).  It is therefore recommended that this report be referred to the United States Attorney’s Office (Southern District) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for immediate prosecution.  

1 comment:

  1. Why does Commissioner Steve Horton have a city vehicle parked in his driveway at home 24/7


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.