Activist Sam Rivers behind Journal News article on LED streetlights
Mount Vernon’s outspoken activist, Sam Rivers, has told me, the publisher/editor of the Inquirer that he provided the information used by the Journal News to write the damning article about Terrence Horton and the LED streetlight contract.
“As long as I am alive, I’ll make sure he does not get that contract. He had me unjustly arrested when he was DPW commissioner in Mount Vernon and I’ll never forgive him on that,” said Rivers.
The Journal News article continues to cause a firestorm in Mount Vernon, since the article is full of distorted and baseless information concerning how Terrence Horton was awarded the $3.1 million dollar contract to retrofit 4,400 streetlights throughout Mount Vernon.
According to Rivers, he bragged to me that the Journal News was printing a second damming article on the streetlights, and he was correct, a second front page article was published on October 28th.
After reading this article, Rivers sent out an email blast cowardly denying what he told me over the telephone.
The Journal News obviously has had to resort to damage control, after their editorial staff realized that one of their journalist had teamed up with Sam Rivers to write the first outrageously incorrect and misleading article that appeared on the front page of their daily newspaper.
Rivers has a tainted reputation and has contributed to many of Mount Vernon’s problems by falsely accusing city officials and others of wrongdoing. It is truly amazing that nobody has come up with the courage to drag him into court – since his goal is to hurt and slander people, regardless of the long-term consequences associated with his fabricated accusations.
The writer of the Journal News article should have known about Rivers’ reputation, and many are wondering why he teamed up with Rivers to write such an incredibly incorrect and damaging story. The article has raised a lot of red flags and has further seriously damaged the credibility of the Journal News.
The new article, although purposely toned down, continues to provide false information to readers, allowing Rivers to pursue his goal of derailing Horton’s streetlight contract.
With Mayor Ernest D. Davis escaping Mount Vernon to an unknown location for whatever reasons, information for the second Journal News article was obtained from members of the City Council. Unfortunately, the president of the City Council, Marcus Griffith, along with his colleagues have also given incorrect information to the Journal News for their second article.
The second article states that the contract has been stalled over a $450,000 energy audit and questions about the collateral required for the project to move forward. The City Council was provided on two occasions with a detailed survey, audit, analysis and comparison data, showing the savings after the conversion to the LED streetlights. The surveys were given to members of the City Council on June 4, 2015 and August 26 – according to the stamped dates on the copy of the survey.
Councilman Richard Thomas is quoted in the second article as having doubts about the LED contract, since he had not seen the energy audit. Copies of the audit were provided by Horton to each and every member, so it could be the copies were not properly distributed amongst each other.
The article further states that the contract hit a snag because city officials said Horton has to secure a performance bond - money put in escrow as collateral for large projects - before funding is released by Capital One, which has a seven-year loan agreement with the city. The truth is that a performance bond was in place all along with MasTec, but the city kept delaying the signing of the contract – preventing Horton from getting paid.
After reading the first damaging article printed by the Journal News, MasTec officials decided against providing the performance bond due to the adverse publicity generated by the Journal News article.
The second article also talks about Horton’s trip to South Korea. Horton traveled to South Korea to sign an International Trade Agreement with Soosong Electronics, it had nothing to do with the LED contract he was awarded at a later date by Mount Vernon. He simply wanted Soosong to open a distribution center in Mount Vernon and to be a supplier of his LED lights and equipment. This obviously impressed the City during the bidding process, especially since he was the only one of the bidders able to conduct an energy audit of the City’s streetlights.
I can’t think of another Mount Vernonite, especially the City’s only Black developer, who has contributed more to the progress of Mount Vernon than Terrence Horton. He worked so hard to obtain the LED contract so he can help generate jobs for Mount Vernon’s unemployed and help Mount Vernon’s youth – only to have a villain like Sam Rivers attempt to derail it.
Rivers has already caused him a lot of harm, and has also caused confusion amongst City officials about the ethics behind his actions. Hopefully, the City Council and others will steer their efforts in the direction of the City’s worse enemy, Sam Rivers, and allow Horton to proceed and fulfill his contract obligation on the streetlights.
Sadly, the forces trying to derail the LED streetlight contract are now directing their attacks towards me on social media. One comment accuses me of taking bribes from Horton. Another comment says I should leave Mount Vernon and go back to Pelham. The truth is that I am more of a Mount Vernonite than those who are writing the comments, and as long as God allows me, I will continue to publish the Inquirer.