Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren today agreed to a plea deal and will resign by Dec. 1. Deputy Mayor James Smith will become mayor upon her resignation, holding that office for the final month of her term.
“I am certain my colleagues on Council and the administration will support this transition and continue the work necessary to best serve the citizens of Rochester,” Council President Loretta Scott said in a statement.
“I want to thank Mayor Warren for her service to the city of Rochester,” Scott added. “I am confident in her ability to serve the remaining time with the same dedication she has brought to office over the past seven years.”
Warren and two others were indicted on felony charges a year ago stemming from campaign finance violations the trio allegedly committed during the 2017 mayoral race.
Rochester Finance Director Rosalind Brooks-Harris and Albert Jones Jr. were charged along with the mayor. Jones was treasurer of the Friends of Lovely Warren campaign committee. Brooks-Harris served as treasurer of the Warren for a Strong Rochester political action committee.
All three were charged with first-degree scheme to defraud and violation of election law 14-126(6); both are Class E felonies.
Warren pleaded guilty today to a misdemeanor, with an admission that she accepted donations beyond the legal limits. Her co-defendants also accepted the plea deal. For the mayor, the deal also resolves illegal possession of a gun and child endangerment charges that resulted from a police raid of the home she shared with her estranged husband, who was under investigation related to a drug-trafficking network.
Warren sought re-election this year, but City Council member Malik Evans defeated her in the June 23 Democratic primary. He faces no opposition on the ballot in the November general election.
Late today, Warren posted on Facebook: “Leaving the past behind and looking forward to a brighter future. Thank you Rochester. We’ve accomplished a lot together, but in the end, I thank God that I’m able to choose family over everything.”
Paul Ericson is Rochester Beacon executive editor.