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Sam Zherka, strip club owner, named to phantom Mount Vernon police board

7/11/13 8:55 AM

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Sam Zherka, strip club owner, named to phantom Mount Vernon police board
Originally published: March 12, 2013 6:32 PM Updated: March 12, 2013 7:24 PM By TIMOTHY O'CONNOR timothy.oconnor@cablevision.com
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Complete coverage: Mount Vernon politics

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Derek Jeter to return to Yankees today www.newsday.com Derek Jeter will rejoin the Yankees' depleted lineup for Thursday afternoon's series finale against the Royals, according to Newsday's David Lennon. Photo credit: Timothy O'Connor/Newsday | Strip club owner Sam Zherka was appointed as a liaison to the Mount Vernon Civilian Advisory Board for Police Affairs in October by Mayor Ernie Davis. The board has no members and it was a position that does not exist. (March 12, 2013) 30 minutes ago



When Mayor Ernie Davis appointed Sam Zherka as a liaison to the

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Sam Zherka, strip club owner, named to phantom Mount Vernon police board

7/11/13 8:55 AM

Mount Vernon Civilian Advisory Board for Police Affairs in October he named the strip club owner to a position that doesn't exist on a board that has no members, Newsday has learned. "It doesn't exist because I haven't configured it yet," Davis said Feds investigate Mount Vernon finances Tuesday, declining to discuss why he appointed Zherka or what role he envisioned for him. Zherka, who owns the Westchester Guardian weekly newspaper and is part owner of a Manhattan strip club called Cheetahs, is ineligible to be a board member regardless because he lives in Katonah. PHOTOS: Mayor Ernie Davis' supporters attend fundraiser in Mount Vernon | Property owned by Mount Vernon Mayor Ernie Davis MORE: Mt. Vernon Mayor Davis' pays tax bill on condo | Complete coverage: Mount Vernon politics VIDEO: Mayor outlines vision for Mount Vernon | Ernie Davis supporters slam media coverage | Conflict of interest possible in Davis probe Mount Vernon budget deadline looms The board, created in 1982 to handle residents' complaints against the Police Department, should consist of 12 members, each of whom has lived in Mount Vernon for at least three years, according to the city code. The mayor is authorized to appoint seven members and five associates. The city code details what role each of the members, who are not paid, should play, and a liaison is not one of the defined positions. Mt. Vernon City Council's Rich Thomas "The chairperson shall meet with any group or individual expressing a grievance concerning police policy, action or procedure, in order that the board may adequately discuss and make recommendations concerning said grievance," the city code states. The code calls for the second deputy police commissioner to be the Property owned by Mount Vernon Mayor Ernie Davis chairman and the member designated to discuss the panel's recommendations with the police commissioner. The city doesn't currently have a second deputy police commissioner. There have been no advisory board members or meetings since at least 2006, current and former Mount Vernon officials said. Recently ousted Police Commissioner Carl Bell said he had not heard of such a board "until Davis started talking about Sam Zherka" being a liaison to the panel. One law enforcement source familiar with the Mount Vernon Police Department called Zherka's appointment "a get-out-of-jail-free card," noting that Zherka might use his position to skirt city ordinances. Zherka, 46, said he doesn't know yet what his role will be and denied he would use the post for his own benefit. "I was appointed as a liaison. When the board is put together, we'll know better," he said of his duties. Zherka was arrested at City Hall in October 2008 following a dispute with former Mayor Clinton Young's chief of staff, Yolanda Robinson. He was found guilty of two counts of disorderly conduct after an October 2009 trial. He filed two federal lawsuits against the city, both of which were dismissed.



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Sam Zherka, strip club owner, named to phantom Mount Vernon police board

7/11/13 8:55 AM

Damon Jones, the head of the Westchester chapter of Blacks in Law Enforcement, said he repeatedly has called on Mount Vernon to appoint members to the board. "How do the citizens of Mount Vernon have any redress when they are victims of police crimes?" he asked. "That's why this board is supposed to be there." Some members of the Police Department are being investigated by the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office for alleged ties to street gang members, Newsday reported Feb. 22. That probe is in its preliminary stages, said sources familiar with the case. Residents of Mount Vernon interviewed Tuesday did not know Mount Vernon had a Civilian Advisory Board for Police Affairs. "I never heard of it," Carmen Grant said as she did laundry in King-Cal Laundromat on South Fifth Avenue. Grant's home was robbed by five gun-wielding teenagers two years ago, she said. Only one person was arrested, and that was because she showed the police the alleged perpetrator on Facebook. "I had to do my own investigation," she said. "I wanted to complain, but we feared retaliation by the police. I didn't know there was someplace else to turn." "Complaining can get you killed," warned Michael George, leaning on a nearby table. User rating:
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Sam Zherka, strip club owner, named to phantom Mount Vernon police board

7/11/13 8:55 AM

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