Tuesday, February 18, 2014





Federal Investigators seeking answers to the back door deal making and corruption that has destroyed the quality of life in Mount Vernon should focus their attention to Mount Vernon City Councilman Yuhanna Edwards.  Councilman Yuhanna Edwards made a statement incriminating Rev. Franklyn Richardson, as a major player in Mount Vernon politics.  Richardson is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon.

“Richardson is making money off this and what not” is what Councilman Edwards told Mount Vernon Exposed Publisher and Community Activist Samuel L. Rivers.  Councilman Edwards must elaborate further and explain exactly what he meant by his statement pertaining to Rev. Richardson. 

Rev. Richardson, considered by many to be a poverty pimp, has long been entrenched in Mount Vernon politics, and is also considered the major force that has destroyed the Mount Vernon public school system.  Richardson, a resident of Scarsdale, supports and endorses candidates from the pulpit every election cycle in the City of Mount Vernon.

Some of Rev. Richardson’s minions that are on the school board that continue to carry out his oppressive and destructive policies are School Board Trustee’s Elias Gootzeit, Len Sarver, and Frances Wynn.  These three candidates always vote lockstep and oppose any resolution that calls for audits or progressive reform of the Mount Vernon City School District.

Richardson, while so called championing for better public education for the children of Mount Vernon, is also contributing to the destruction of the City of Mount Vernon.  About 20 years ago, Rev. Richardson and elected officials in the City of Mount Vernon systematically came up with a plan that would enrich their gang.  Elected officials in Mount Vernon would let the City of Mount Vernon, primarily on the South-Side fall into disrepair and blighted conditions.  Today, many properties on the South-Side of Mount Vernon are abandoned and boarded up.   

Rev. Richardson and his gang would then go into the community and muster up support from residents telling them that the affordable housing supply in the City of Mount Vernon was inadequate and therefore more affordable housing needed to be built.  Rev. Richardson also failed to inform taxpayers that he would be seeking P.I.L.O.T. ‘s (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) for the various affordable housing buildings he was planning to erect all around town. 

A P.I.L.O.T. or payment in lieu of taxes is a program designed to stimulate economic activity in a municipality and is designed to compensate a local government for some or all of the tax revenue because of the nature of the ownership or use of a particular piece of property.  P.I.L.O.T’s relate to the forgone tax revenue.  Every year the City of Mount Vernon loses tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue because of the P.I.L.O.T. agreements dished out by City Officials.  Please also keep in mind that the Mayor and Industrial Development Agency or I.D.A. has all the power in granting out the P.I.L.O.T. agreement to developers looking to do business with the City of Mount Vernon.

For example, a landlord that owns an apartment building that pays its fair share of taxes to the City of Mount Vernon pays approximately $2,500 per year in taxes per apartment, while Rev. Richardson through his abuse of the P.I.L.O.T. program only pays about $500-600 per year in taxes per apartment. 

P.I.L.O.T.’s are designed to create permanent jobs and stimulate economic development.  P.I.L.O.T’s were never intended to be dished out to developers of residential project unless it contained a significant commercial/retail component.  How many permanent jobs will be created after a low-income residential building is complete? 

The City of Mount Vernon Industrial Development Agency or IDA approves P.I.L.O.T. agreements.  The Mayor appoints all of the members of the IDA.  The is nothing no one can do, including the City Council once the IDA grants these P.I.L.O.T agreements. 

Due to the greed of Rev. Richardson and elected officials, Mount Vernon has a failing school system, which makes it unattractive for investors looking to build in Mount Vernon. In fact, only one large-scale project broke ground over the last 10 years that didn’t seek a P.I.L.O.T.  That project, The Horizon in Fleetwood formerly known as the Vista, went belly up and the developer was forced to file bankruptcy on more than $22M in debt.  The project was ultimately sold at a bankruptcy auction for a measly $6M, pennies on the dollar. 

Because of these P.I.L.O.T. agreements, of which Rev. Richardson is a frequent recipient, already cash strapped homeowners must now pick up the costs that the developer doesn’t want to incur because the project will not be  “profitable”. 

To add insult to injury, Rev. Richardson puts together a slate of candidates to run for school board every election cycle.  The Rev. Richardson candidates, every budget cycle then make cuts that are detrimental to the children in Mount Vernon.  If Rev. Richardson’s candidates would simply tell their puppet master to pay his fair share of taxes, homeowners would see immediate tax relief because of the added revenue to the City coffers. 

Rev. Richardson is so entrenched in Mount Vernon politics that he even had a few people appointed to the Superintendent search committee to ensure that the next handpicked Superintendent candidate continues to keep his gravy train running.  Henry Mays, a member of the Superintendent search committee and a parishioner of Grace Baptist, saw to it that his daughter, Donna Jackson, was appointed to a cushy, $75K do-nothing position as the Assistant to embattled Mount Vernon School Superintendent Judith Johnson. 

As we begin to understand Rev. Richardson’s meddling in school affairs and corrupting the election process, we must begin to ask ourselves, why hasn’t  one elected official publicly contested his policies.  Could it be that these same elected officials are then publicly endorsed from the pulpit in violation of Richardson’s I.R.S.  501 (c) (3) status?

Next, the connection between School Board Vice President Len Sarver, architectural firm Fuller and D’Angelo, and Rev. Richardson. 

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