Thursday, March 10, 2011


Ready, Set, Go!!!!  Election year or should we say war has officially begun in the City of Mount Vernon.   The battle lines have been drawn in the sand.  People are ducking for cover while others are busy aligning themselves with who they feel is the favorite to win the Mayoral race.  The 2011 Mayoral race will be the nastiest and the most costly campaign in the history of Mount Vernon.  There is a saying in politics.  “There are no permanent friends, only permanent interests.”  This saying proves to be true in the byzantine world of Mount Vernon politics.  

The Afghanistan war of 1979 is a good example to prove this theory.  The Soviet Union had many interests in Afghanistan and one of them was to spread the theory of communism and make it one of its satellite nations. The United States was pursuing a policy of containment and it indirectly aided the rebel forces of Afghanistan, i.e. the Taliban and Mujahidin’s, to overthrow the communist regime.  The United States allied with Afghanistan along with Iran, China and Pakistan to carry out its objectives. Although the war ended in a stalemate, the participating nations were involved because it served their interests. After 9/11 United States developed an interest of combat against terrorism and it suspected its former ally, Afghanistan or the Taliban, to be involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center.  Now the United States is still fighting a war with Afghanistan.  Once considered an ally, the United States would like to see Afghanistan blown off the map.

Best friends become enemies and enemies become best friends. 
Mayor Young is making every attempt to reach out to the people that he burned or screwed over the last three years, even if that means bribing them with lucrative contracts funded by the City of Mount Vernon taxpayers.  

Mount Vernon voters still have the sour taste in their mouth from the 2007 Mayoral primary that bitterly divided the City of Mount Vernon.  The ticket was Mayor Davis –vs. - Clinton Young and Lyndon Williams –vs. - Serapher Conn Halevi.   The campaign at times got violent, with reports of physical brawls and guns being flashed by both camps.  

After Mayor Young won the primary, there was an organized and calculated attempt to overthrow Serapher Conn Halevi from the position as Chairwoman of the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee.  The chairperson of the committee that was responsible for the ouster of Ms. Halevi was Ronald Detres, husband of City of Mount Vernon Corporation Counsel Loretta Hottinger.  Ronald Detres would show others the ropes and how to get information to the media.  A series of articles ran in The Journal News about the corrupt activities of Serapher Conn Halevi and members of her family.  The articles led to federal investigators picking up the case and sending out subpoenas for information relating to the corruption.  Former Special Assistant to the Mayor John Boykin also implicated Conn Halevi in the torching of community activist Samuel L. Rivers’ Ranger Rover.

Upon taking office, one of the first things Mayor Young did was to instruct City Council members to cancel the booting contract that was issued to Serapher Conn Halevi who also serves as the City Marshall.   On March 3, 2008, The Journal News ran a story regarding the booting contract issued to Conn Halevi.  According to the article, City Council members began questioning why an independent contractor should be paid to do the booting if city employees are also involved.  The Mount Vernon Police Department also does booting for the City of Mount Vernon.  

Now we fast forward to 2011.  Some of the same City Council members that expressed concerns over the booting contract now have in front of them information to vote and restore the booting contract to Conn Halevi.  Dr. Mayor Young is now in full support of re-rewarding Conn Halevi the booting contract.  Conn Halevi is not the only person that was once an enemy of Dr. Mayor Young that he is attempting to bribe with lucrative city contracts. You are probably scratching your head wondering why? Mayor Young is promising Conn Halevi the booting contract at a cost of $65K per year in exchange for support for the 2011 Mayoral election.  Bribery 101, Mayor Young passed with flying colors.  In fact, he never missed a day or showed up late to class.  It has even been reported that Mayor Young has recently earned his doctorate in criminology.  He is now on top of his game and only the best of the best will be able to detect his criminal attempts to line his greasy pockets with taxpayer funds.
Mount Vernon Exposed™® was at the City Council work session meeting on March 8, 2011 when this particular item came up for discussion and the reasoning for doling out such a lucrative contract to a Dr. Mayor Young crony without going through the competitive bidding process. Anyone who submits “a fraudulent or collusive bid, or otherwise conspires to corrupt the bidding system, is guilty of a crime under § 103-e(1) of the state’s General Municipal Law.

§ 103-e(1) states:
  Conspiracies  to  prevent  competitive  bidding  on  public
  contracts.  1. A person or corporation who shall wilfully, knowingly and
  with intent to defraud, make or enter into, or attempt to make or  enter
  into,  with  any  other  person  or  corporation, a contract, agreement,
  arrangement or combination to submit a fraudulent or collusive  bid,  or
  to  refrain  from  submitting a bona fide competitive bid, to any board,
  officer, agency, department, commission or other agency of the state  or
  of  a public corporation on a contract for public work or purchase which
  has been advertised for bidding, shall be guilty of a  misdemeanor,  and
  on  conviction thereof shall, if a natural person, be punished by a fine
  not exceeding five thousand dollars or by imprisonment  for  not  longer
  than  one  year,  or  by  both  such  fine  and  imprisonment,  and if a
  corporation  by  a  fine  not  exceeding  twenty  thousand  dollars.  An
  indictment  or  information  based  upon a violation of any provision of
  this section must be found within three years after its commission.

Mount Vernon Exposed™® would like to educate the public to show that rewarding Conn Halevi the booting contract is not in the best interest of Mount Vernon taxpayers.  Nothing personal, just bad business sense.   We hope the City Council will use this information when this item comes up for a vote.
First and foremost, Mount Vernon is the only City in Westchester (possibly New York State) where the City Marshall does booting.  Most booting contracts are awarded through the RFP (Request for Proposal) process.  For example, most booting contracts are done by tow truck companies.  Makes sense doesn’t it.  How many times have you seen in parking lots signs alerting you who to call (a tow truck company) if your car is booted or towed away?   In New York City, booting is done by the Sheriff or a subcontractor of the Sheriff.  Things are done differently in Mount Vernon.  Very differently.  Hence the reason the City of Mount Vernon is the poorest, highest taxed City in America. 

Now for a few figures to show you that awarding the booting contract to Conn Halevi is being done for strictly political patronage purpose:

City Marshal Booting Contract Data
(Expense) to City Marshall Booting Contract - $60,000 (annually in 2008) or $5,000 per month
(Revenue) to City of Mount Vernon - $217,395 (annually in 2008) or $18,116.25 per month
(Profit) to City of Mount Vernon less expenses of $60,000 (booting contract) = $157, 395

Mount Vernon Police Department Booting Data
(Expense) to City of Mount Vernon Police Officer Overtime $84,000 per year or $7,000 per month
(Revenue) to City of Mount Vernon- $600,000 (annually in 2010) or $50,000 per month
(Profit) to City of Mount Vernon less expense of $84,000 (police overtime) $516,000

Even if the City were to give back $84,000 to the Mount Vernon Police Department for their overtime expenses, the City of Mount Vernon would still be left with a profit of $432,000 annually.  

An argument was made that the police department spends too much in overtime booting cars and thus this should be the reason for re-rewarding the booting contract to Conn Halevi.  In reality, the only issue is overtime is spent on booting scofflaws and when overtime is needed to solve let’s say a homicide or bank robbery there is no money to pay for it.  City officials should work together to make sure the police department overtime budget is replenished on a monthly basis since they are bringing in substantial revenue which ultimately makes its way into the City of Mount Vernon general fund which then is used to control the increase of the tax rate.   The moral of the story is: make sure they police are taken care of.  They are the second largest union in Mount Vernon, they interact with City residents on a daily basis and most importantly, they vote.  

It is a no brainer that it makes more sense to even get additional police officers to participate as this is a very lucrative stream of revenue not currently afforded to City of Mount Vernon taxpayers.  Anything else would be uncivilized.  

Please write the City Council and encourage them not to reward Serapher Conn Halevi the booting contract.  This is corruption at its worst. Please also sign up to speak at the next City Council meeting on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 7 P.M.  When you are asked by the secretary the topic that you will be speaking about, please say, “Don’t tread on me”.

George W. Brown - City Clerk
C/O Mount Vernon City Council
City of Mount Vernon - 1 Roosevelt Sq.
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
(914) 665-2332 Fax# (914) 668-6044
Journal News Articles Serapher Halevi                                                                                                   

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