Reported by Joel Grossbarth in The Rockland County Times
FLASHBACK: A triumphant Delhomme posed for this photo after winning the 2013 Spring Valley mayoral election. Shortly thereafter, he controversially acquired a 2014 Ford SUV without following the required competitive bidding process. A Supreme Court Judge ruled this week that Delhomme’s paycheck will be garnished to pay any damages to the village. (Photo by Aaron Moeller)
The self-proclaimed “King of Spring Valley” had a really bad week in the Rockland County Supreme Court.
It started when Village of Spring Valley Mayor Demeza Delhomme was ordered to repay the village for the purchase of a 2014 Ford vehicle, which a judge ruled the mayor bought in violation of a New York law requiring municipalities to seek competitive bidding.
Rockland County Supreme Court Justice Gerald Loehr held in Matter of Delhomme v. The Board of Trustees of the Village of Spring Valley that the Village Board of Trustees had a right to recoup the money the mayor spent in violation of New York General Municipal Law. He ruled this is “something which has already been determined by this Court and may not be relitigated by the Mayor.”
The court also ruled that the mayor’s salary of $115,000 per year can be garnished 10 percent per paycheck until the village is repaid in full. The cost of the vehicle was $47,487.50, which is the amount the trustees seek in damages.
Delhomme will have the opportunity to argue that the actual damages are lower than that amount. Those hearings continue Friday, February 10. The burden of proof is on Delhomme, Judge Loehr said.
If the latest legal fiasco isn’t enough, Acting Village Clerk Kathryn Ball sued the mayor and Village Board this week after the Village Board defunded the position of Village Clerk from the budget, effectively terminating Ms. Ball from her position. Ms. Ball claims that the unlawful withholding of two weeks pay was a “taking” without just compensation in violation of the United States and New York State constitutions. Ms. Ball also claims punitive damages for the unlawful termination and deprivation of rights.
In a related action, former Village Clerk Sherry Scott sued the village for backpay, claiming that since no permanent clerk was appointed after her termination in 2013, she legally occupies the position and is entitled to recoup the pay she was supposedly denied. After three years on the bench, Scott was rehired by the village and named deputy clerk in August 2016. She cites her rehire as evidence she has technically been the clerk all along, even though she did not work for about three years.
To top off the “only in Spring Valley” flavor of craziness for the week, the 2017 mayoral election looms and rumors are swirling that former Village Justice Alan Simon will be running for mayor in November. That is the same Simon who was stripped of his right to be a judge after a State Appeals Court panel ruled he abused power and mistreated colleagues in Spring Valley.