The Sin of Snipes, Replayed: Mayor Pleads Guilty to Failing to File Tax Return

The mayor of Mount Vernon, N.Y., just north of Manhattan, has pleaded guilty to failing to file corporate and personal income tax returns. Failing to file tax returns is the same crime for which Hollywood film star Wesley Snipes famously was convicted and for which he spent nearly three years in federal prison.

Mayor Ernest D. Davis, 76, faces up to two years in prison as a result of his plea agreement.

According to court records, Davis purchased a rental property and held the building through a corporation. Davis admitted that he sold the building in 2003 but he failed to file the required federal corporate income tax return on which he should have reported the proceeds of the sale.

Davis also admitted that he failed to file a federal tax return for 2011. That year, the mayor earned more than $100,000 in adjusted gross income.

From the Mayor’s perspective (possibly), on the brighter side, pleading guilty to these crimes might not necessarily end Davis’s career in public office.

Consider Republican House of Representatives representative to Staten Island, Michael Grimm, who was recently reelected, despite a 20-count federal indictment, as well as his menacing NY1 reporter Michael Scotto, in which, in response to Scotto’s question about the federal investigation which led to Grimm’s federal indictment, Grimm said, as reported by the New York Daily News, “I’ll throw you off this f*ck*ng balcony” and “[I’ll] break you in half, like a boy.” See the incident on video, below.

It seems anything is possible. Meanwhile, NY1 reports that on December 23rd, 2014, Representative Grimm pled guilty to one count of federal tax evasion. Grimm refuses to resign his elected office, and there is no law requiring a convicted felon to resign from the House of Representatives; however, a House ethics investigation may compel his removal.

On the criminal plea, sentencing is scheduled for June 8, 2015. Grimm faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

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Update December 30, 2014: The New York Times reports that, in a turnabout from his stated refusal to resign, Representative Grimm announced his intention to resign his office, effective January 5, 2015.

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