Thursday, June 25, 2015


A political insider has informed Mount Vernon Exposed that Ruth Hassell Thompson is under investigation after a whistleblower in the New York State legislature tipped off federal authorities about several questionable "earmarks" or pork spending that went to various projects in her Senatorial district.  The source said officials are looking into possible kickbacks and other unusual "quid pro quo" arrangements that would enrich the Senator politically or financially.  The embattled Senator was already under scrutiny after it was revealed Senator Thompson was caught on federal wiretaps after former Senator Shirley Hunt agreed to cooperate with the Feds in exchanged for a reduced sentence.  Thompson was targeted after Hunt revealed to federal authorities she knew of corruption in the Senate involving Senator Thompson.

One such 'earmark' under scrutiny is 110 N. Third Avenue, the location of which the Senator's daughter Helene is employed.  Helene's employer is Robert DeBenedictis, the buildings property manager of record and also the Senator's home improvement contractor of record.  The Senator came under fire recently when it was reported previously the Senator dodged several city approvals when DeBenedictis installed the Senator's roof without a permit and approval from the City's architectural review board.  Architectural review board approval was needed because the Senator changed from a slate to an asphalt roof, which is currently prohibited under city statute.  Mount Vernon Department of Buildings records indicate that the permit fee still has not been paid nor has a permit been applied for despite public outcry and residents speaking up at recent City Council meetings.  Senator Thompson has said publicly that her contract with DeBenedictis called for DeBenedictis to pay all filing fees and ensure that all permits and approvals for city agencies were obtained. If this was any other taxpayer a Violation/Summons would have been issued to the property owner immediately and the fines would have been issued and paid.

Authorities are also said to be looking into whether the Senator overinflated earmarks to the Third Avenue project that would come back to her in the form of campaign contributions and "in-kind" donations.

Critics have also fired at the Senator alleging that there is no contract in place between DeBenedictis and the Senator and that the installation of the roof was part of a much bigger arrangement in place between DeBenedictis and Senator Thompson.  The hiring of the Senator's daughter Helene by DeBenedictis is also part of the deal and in exchange, the Senator would name DeBenedictis Commissioner of Police if elected as Mayor. 

The source said that officials are already into the "business relationship" between the Senator and DeBenedictis.  Sources have confirmed sightings with DeBenedictis and the Senator walking through Fleetwood seeking out campaign space before finally agreeing to set up shop at 565 Gramatan Avenue, right in the heart of Fleetwood.  Property records list the owner as 557 Gramatan Realty, LLC with offices located at 555 Fifth Avenue in midtown. Records indicate that the property was sold to the current owner for $5,000,000 in 2012.  The source said DeBenedictis helped secure the prime location for the cash strapped Senator who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford the $50 per square foot rent, which is equivalent to $6,000 per month for the size of space being used the Senator's campaign. 

Friends of Ruth Hassell-Thompson has filed a "no activity" off cycle report with the New York State Board of Elections regarding her financial activities pertaining to the Senator's mayoral campaign.  Members of the public will have to wait until July to see the Senator's warchest.  The Committee to Elect Ruth Thompson, another campaign committee controlled by Thompson, reported $59, 380.09 on hand during their last filing with the State Board of Election in January 2015.  Members of the public will also get to see how much the Senator is actually paying for her prime real estate in the heart of Fleetwood.

To be continued..........

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