“East Ramapo school board member Bernard Charles, accused of pretending to be a Ramapo town official, renting out the town’s Cultural Arts Center and pocketing the $1,100 fee, pleaded guilty today to misdemeanor petty larceny as part of a plea deal with the Rockland District Attorney’s Office.
Charles also will pay back the town of Ramapo $1,100 and will resign from the East Ramapo school board. He will also be on probation for two years. Charles is accused of renting out the Town of Ramapo’s Cultural Arts Center, located in downtown Spring Valley, even though he was no longer a town employee and had no permission. He is accused of pocketing a fee he collected to use the old theater.
Charles and his spouse, Ramapo Town Deputy Supervisor Brendel Logan-Charles, left court together. Charles offered a printed prepared statement.
In it, he accused Town of Ramapo leaders, including members of the Ramapo Town Board, of continuously stopping people of color from using the Cultural Arts Center.
He said of members of Ramapo Town Board and Parks and Recreation Department: “They want retail businesses and a yeshiva or synagogue from their community to replace my communities programs,” he wrote in all capital letters. “Just as other black men before me who have become targets for standing in the way of the progressive movement by the town.”
He also said he believed he had been targeted.
Logan-Charles has long been a member of the Town Board in Ramapo. She said on Thursday that she would remain on the Town Board and that the accusations against her spouse were “all a lie.”
Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht declined to comment.
East Ramapo school district clerk Kathy Kiri had not returned a call for comment.
Charles was originally charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony, and second-degree criminal impersonation, a misdemeanor, but pleaded guilty to petty larceny in a plea agreement.”
Read the complete Journal News coverage here.