A week ago Tuesday, September 27, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli published this year’s list of the most fiscally stressed municipalities in New York State. And once again, Supervisor St. Lawrence and his Town Board have refused to provide the financial data requested of all of the State’s counties, cities, towns and villages. That makes two of the last three years that this group has hidden the Town’s finances in order to avoid the Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System. Why would they do this? You need only look at the one recent year when they did provide the numbers to get an answer. [Read more…]
Last night, on the front page of LoHud’s web version of The Journal News, a strange Community View titled “In Defense of Christopher St. Lawrence” was posted by Matthew I. Brennan. The logic was twisted, key facts were not checked by either Brennan or the editors, and the astounding conclusion was that the U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was very disrespectful even if he was on sound legal ground.
Here’s the opening paragraph: “In all fairness, I consider the 30-page indictment against Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and former Ramapo Local Development Corporation executive director and assistant town attorney N. Aaron Troodler a vindication of the supervisor’s administration.”
A vindication? Is Brennan suggesting that a good way to let everyone know what a great job you’re doing is to get yourself hauled out of your house, pre-dawn, in handcuffs, dragged off to a Federal Court, and there have about two dozen of your crimes read to you, your fans, and the press? [Read more…]
Preet Bharara has done his job and indicted Supervisor St. Lawrence and Aaron Troodler for criminal bond fraud. And the SEC has done its job and indicted St. Lawrence, Aaron Troodler, Michael Klein and Nat Oberman for civil bond fraud. Unfortunately, these federal agencies have no authority over the conduct of ordinary affairs in Ramapo and cannot take responsibility for the cash emergency that is approaching.
Ramapo has essentially been operating as a Ponzi scheme for years. Millions of dollars of nonexistent account receivables are currently carried on our books, and it appears that St. Lawrence has illegally skimmed $12 million from the ambulance tax line in order to hide the red ink. [Read more…]
Letter to The Journal News from NYS Comptroller
Given the turn of events in the Town of Ramapo related to the questionable financing of a minor league baseball stadium, is there any doubt New York’s local development corporations need more oversight?
Commonly known as LDCs, these entities are private, not-for-profit corporations often created by, or for the benefit of, New York’s counties, cities, towns and villages to spur economic growth or serve other public purposes. In many cases, LDCs are used for economic development such as rehabilitating industrial plants or encouraging businesses to locate or stay in a particular region. [Read more…]
In 2012, the New York State Comptroller declared that the Town of Ramapo was the most fiscally stressed township in the State. At that time, Ramapo had racked up a worst-in-the-state rating of 70.8% for fiscal stress. The Supervisor’s response to the economic crisis was both simple and unnerving: The Comptroller’s numbers must be wrong. And then St. Lawrence turned the lights off in fiscal year 2013 by failing to file the Town’s financial report in time to be included in the State’s evaluation of all the townships. Unfortunately, that had very little restorative impact on the numbers, which continued to worsen as the economic stress increased. Now in the most recent numbers from the State, Ramapo has increased another 7% for a new all-time high. [Read more…]