MOUNT VERNON CITY COUNCILMAN STEVEN HORTON
On Wednesday January 13th, 2010 at the City Council meeting Mount Vernon City Councilman was put on notice that he may be in violation of federal law, specifically the Hatch Act of 1939. Horton responded by stating that he has been a Councilman for close to 15 years and that he is not in violation of any law. Horton spoke in an arrogant, cocky tone as he addressed the Mount Vernon resident that brought this matter to the attention of Mount Vernon City Council members. By the tone of Horton’s voice it appeared that he had no care in the world and this matter would be swept under the rug.
On Thursday January 28th, 2010 the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee held their monthly meeting. Chairman Devereux Cannick allowed Mr. Horton to address the room filled with district leaders. At first, district leaders thought Horton was going to brief the audience about the state of Mount Vernon and other matters of public concern. That was not the case.
Horton took the time to address district leaders about the complaint that was filed against him for his possible violation of The Hatch of 1939. The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of individuals principally employed by state or local executive agencies and who work in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by federal loans or grants.
There was a difference in Horton’s tone as he addressed district leaders. He appeared to be nervous, scared, and confused. He was very humble this time around. Horton realized that the complaint filed against him with The United States Office of Special Counsel was real and that his political career is now in serious jeopardy. Horton stated that the complaint in now in the hands of the City of Mount Vernon Law Department, however the Law Department has no jurisdiction whatsoever over Hatch Act complaints and/or violations. Prohibitions of the Hatch Act are not affected by state or local laws.
Horton seemed confused as to why now that his alleged violation of the Hatch Act is now coming to light. Horton stated that he has been Executive Director of The New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority for 20 years and a Mount Vernon Councilman for 14 years. Horton stated any questions of impropriety should have been addressed long before now.
Many critics disagree. Many Mount Vernon residents that were interviewed by Mount Vernon Exposed ®™did not even know what the Hatch Act was until informed by Mount Vernon Exposed. ®™ “Just because he got away with it [possible violation of Hatch Act] for so long, doesn’t mean he[Councilman Horton] didn’t break the law, said one resident who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
On February 2nd, Horton held a press conference in New Rochelle boasting about $1Million dollars that was secured via federal stimulus funds for The New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority. Highlights of the press conference appeared on News 12 Westchester and an article was printed in The Journal News the following day. The United States Office of Special Counsel, the federal agency investigating the complaint against Horton, was also notified.
Regardless of the outcome of Horton’s situation, there will always be unanswered questions. Residents expressed their frustration and anger to Mount Vernon Exposed®™, when they saw Horton on News 12 announcing the $1Million award from the federal government. One resident asked, “How can he get on TV and brag about all of the nice things that he is doing in New Rochelle, when he is an elected official in Mount Vernon?”