Ernie Davis, Mount Vernon mayor, pays off delinquent Yonkers tax bill
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Mount Vernon Mayor Ernie Davis paid off his property tax bill to Yonkers on Monday, after making the city's delinquent list for the second year in a row.
Davis didn't return a call for comment but paid the $4,277.86 bill for 2012 and 2013 taxes on his condominium at 23 Water Grant St. Monday afternoon, according to city spokeswoman Christina Gilmartin. The tax lien on his property was scheduled to be auctioned to investors at City Hall on Wednesday, along with hundreds of liens imposed on other delinquent taxpayers.
Davis, who makes more than $209,000 a year between his mayor's salary and state pension, told News12 during the weekend that he wasn't aware of the debt and hadn't received any written correspondence from the city about it.
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The embattled Democrat is facing a federal investigation into his personal finances, a probe that is examining how he acquired 10 properties in four states -- including the Water Grant condo -- and whether he properly reported rental income from the residences to the Internal Revenue Service.
Davis insists he has done nothing wrong, has paid his fair share of taxes and has lost money on most of his real estate investments. He has blasted the federal investigation and media coverage of the probe as racially motivated.
In 2011, Davis owed a similar amount of money for the same property. An investor picked up the lien on his property last year, which Davis repaid -- at 12 percent annual interest -- several months later, according to city records.
The city auctions off tax debt every year in an effort to regain lost revenue from delinquent property owners, and the debt is made whole when bidders pay those delinquent taxes. Delinquent owners have two years after a tax sale to redeem their properties, with interest, before the owners of the liens can request to take ownership of the properties.
Last year, roughly $3.2 million in tax liens were sold to investors, from businesses, nonprofit organizations and churches to real estate companies, politicians and ordinary homeowners who had fallen behind on their property taxes.
The city certainly needs the cash: Yonkers is grappling with a budget deficit projected to reach $420 million by 2016.