“Thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight.
“I want to begin by thanking those of you here tonight who, over the last year, have put political and personal considerations aside and stood by me during a very difficult time in my personal life. Thank you for your continued support.
“In moments like this, a man discovers a lot about himself – including who his true friends are. You know who you are, and your friendship means more to me than you will ever know or that I can ever repay.
“I do understand there may be others here tonight who are also supportive and sympathetic but, for understandable reasons, may not be comfortable expressing that in a public way.
“For those of you adamant in your beliefs towards me, please know that I respect you while disagreeing with you, and bear you no ill will regardless.
“I do, however, ask that you grant me the following. It is fair to say that very few of you were in court every day during my trial. More likely, you have been following the case through coverage in the news media, or from friends and colleagues who have seen media reports.
“As we all know from politics, three different news organizations reporting the same event will often produce three different accounts.
“My point is that unless you were in court the whole time, like some but not many press members, you simply do not have the full account of what transpired. If you had been present, you would certainly understand my position and the reasons I am so adamant in my beliefs.
“Our Democratic Party charter states that as a party, we are dedicated to the ideals of justice, equality, and building a strong vibrant community where every voice is heard.
“In this matter, justice has not yet been served and certainly not every voice has been heard. Numerous material witnesses were either blocked from testifying or severely limited in their testimony, and government agencies were not allowed to report what was said to them by my children. These witnesses corroborate my testimony but were not allowed to be heard.
“This is part of the strong and compelling legal foundation for my decision to appeal. Like everyone else I should be offered the due process provided in our judicial system, which includes the right to appeal.
“More importantly, however, and on a deeply personal level, I remain absolutely unequivocal that the charges against me are false. I am innocent. I know the truth. My friends and neighbors, our marriage counselors, and my family know the truth – and ultimately I hope you will know the truth.
“I have dedicated my life to public service. I have endeavored to be a good steward of the public’s trust and resources. I have worked to serve as a voice for those without, and to stand up for my deeply held beliefs. It is for these reasons and the desire to continue my service that I ran to become Mayor.
“I am the first to admit that my inaugural year as Mayor certainly involved some unanticipated events. However, as I’ve done every day since taking office, I have stayed focused on doing my job as Mayor, effectively managing the administration for the benefit of the people of White Plains – and the City is in fact moving forward.
“When I became Mayor, the City of White Plains was on the brink of a fiscal calamity. My administration took immediate and aggressive action, and we’ve done a lot in a short period of time, from replenishing the city’s severely depleted reserve fund to reducing what would have been a substantial tax increase for our citizens.
“We are doing more with less, having reduced our workforce to its lowest level in 30 years without impacting the scope of services provided, including how quickly and efficiently we handle snow emergencies.
“We also dealt with the fire that destroyed an entire city block along East Post Road in July. When the fire had been extinguished, my Administration took immediate steps to ensure that the City would prevent another hole in the ground from occurring in downtown White Plains.
“Even in the middle of recession, economic development projects launched under my watch are taking hold, and other businesses and restaurants are on the way. I am confident that White Plains is finding its footing once again, even while nearby communities continue to struggle.
“Just last week I attended the grand opening of the new ShopRite at City Center, which, after months of hard work and negotiations by my Administration, will create more than 400 new jobs for local residents.
“Additionally, the Common Council recently approved the site plan for Metropolitan Plaza that will feature new retail shops, restaurants and office space.
“The opening of ShopRite and the plans for Metropolitan Plaza are the latest milestones in our Main Street Project that will extend all the way to Broadway and help revitalize our downtown and stimulate the local economy. In addition, 2 large businesses opening soon in the vacant Fortunoff space– Dick’s Sporting Goods & Raymour & Flannigan Furniture.
“And although there is disagreement on what should or should not be done on Ridgeway Country Club, my Administration sought to protect the land and prevent a sealed bidding process from occurring by coming up with a plan to provide an opportunity to benefit all citizens of White Plains.
“I am proud of my record as Mayor and I stand by it. When I became Mayor just one year ago, many businesses were boarded up and abandoned, more people were losing jobs than finding them, and the City of White Plains was on the edge of fiscal abyss. Now, the opposite is true.
“The fiscal and economic development situation in White Plains is vastly different and much improved under my Administration, and I look forward to continuing the work I was elected to do on behalf of the people of White Plains.
“In closing, I want to reiterate that I respect the right of those here tonight and other Democratic Party activists to express themselves in any and every appropriate forum.
“However, I will not engage in the distracting political noise and symbolic gestures that seem to pre-occupy a small faction of this organization and this city.
“I also want you to know that if anyone has a particular concern or disagreement on policy affecting White Plains, my door is open to you. Please come see me so we can work together to make our city better.
“My focus will remain on implementing the policies and initiatives that benefit the citizens of White Plains. That is what the citizens of White Plains expect me to do, and that is my priority.
“Thank you and goodnight."