NEW CITY – In a reversal of a controversial decision by Spring Valley Mayor Demeza Delhomme, State Judge Gerald Loehr struck down the mayor’s dismissal of Village Trustee Vilair Fonvil on Monday.
The decision comes two weeks after Fonvil and his allies on the board, Trustees Emilia White and Asher Grossman, successfully filed a restraining order to prevent Delhomme from dismissing Fonvil from his post. Delhomme then tried to replace Fonvil with political ally Miguelino Joseph.
The conflict began when Delhomme attempted to remove Fonvil by arguing he had not been properly sworn in. Delhomme maintained the nullification of Village Clerk Kathryn Ball’s appointment rendered all oaths of office she administered invalid, allowing him to dismiss Fonvil.
In response, Fonvil, White and Grossman consulted attorney Dennis Lynch, who argued the removal was political retribution for an investigation into the Village’s purchase of a 2014 Ford Expedition for they mayor’s use.
Lynch also argued Ball’s swearing in was irrelevant to Fonvil’s legal status as a trustee. Loehr agreed, finding that Fonvil had submitted all required paperwork for the position and Ball’s removal had no bearing on the situation.
Delhomme continues to maintain the conflict is a diversion tactic by Fonvil and has already stated he intends appeal the decision in the state’s Appellate Division.