|Building Commissioner Mark Warren|
A group of Mount Vernon taxpayers has informed Mount Vernon Exposed of its intentions to file a civil R.I.C.O lawsuit and an Article 78 lawsuit against Mount Vernon Building Commissioner Mark Warren, Mayor Ernie Davis, and the City of Mount Vernon in what is described as a "years long" scheme that has defrauded City of Mount Vernon taxpayers and has jeopardized the safety and welfare of city residents. Subsequent complaints have already been file with the F.B.I. and the U.S. Attorney's office asking for an investigation in practices within the Mount Vernon Department of Buildings.
Under RICO, a person who has committed "at least two acts of racketeering activity" drawn from a list of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering if such acts are related in one of four specified ways to an "enterprise". Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity."
RICO also permits a private individual "damaged in his business or property" by a "racketeer" to file a civil suit. The plaintiff must prove the existence of an "enterprise". The defendant(s) are not the enterprise; in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same. There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise: either the defendant(s) invested the proceeds of the pattern of racketeering activity into the enterprise; or the defendant(s) acquired or maintained an interest in, or control over, the enterprise through the pattern of racketeering activity; or the defendant(s) conducted or participated in the affairs of the enterprise "through" the pattern of racketeering activity; or the defendant(s) conspired to do one of the above. In essence, the enterprise is either the 'prize,' 'instrument,' 'victim,' or 'perpetrator' of the racketeers. A civil RICO action can be filed in state or federal court.
Commissioner Warren's latest act of racketeering occurred just last week when he illegally issued a temporary Certificate of Occupancy for 10 N. Third Avenue, the site of Chicken Hut and "The Mansion", a catering hall that is currently operating without necessary permits. To add insult to injury, Warren sped up the process all to allow City workers who moonlight as party promoters, to have a "paid" party, which is in violation of Mount Vernon Zoning ordinances.
The Mansion, which also serves and sells food prepared on premises, does not have the required Westchester County Department of Health Food Permits to operate the "food service" portion of the business.
Mount Vernon Exposed contacted Commissioner Mark Warren and Mayor Ernie Davis regarding the issuance of the temporary certificate of occupancy. Mount Vernon Exposed also reviewed the file in the Mount Vernon Department of Buildings. Mount Vernon Exposed could find no supporting documentation supporting the issuance of the temporary certificate of occupancy.
When confronted about his latest act of corruption, Commissioner Warren appeared to be frazzled to the point he gave misinformation to Mount Vernon Exposed on why he issued the Certificate of Occupancy in the first place. Commissioner Warren stated that the architect on file was Tom Abilama. Upon review of the file, Mount Vernon Exposed discovered that the architect of record was Francis Turner.
Under normal circumstances, Certificates of Occupancies must be signed off on by several city departments including, Fire, DPW, Plumbing, Electrical, and Buildings. When questioned as to why not one City official did not sign off on the Certificate of Occupancy, Commissioner Warren stated that the architect certified that all of the inspections took place and that it was safe to issue the Certificate of Occupancy. Such an act of part of the architect would be called a "self certification" a process that is not allowed under the Mount Vernon City Charter.
So what is the real reason Commissioner Warren continues to break the law? According to a political insider, Commissioner Warren is in financial trouble and possibly could be extorting businesses and taking bribes to look the other way. Commissioner Warren, an appointed official, is also seeking to win and retain favor with Mayor Ernie Davis who is up for re-election this year.
To be continued........