You would think that as fast as St. Lawrence and his attorney were pedaling in the courtroom in White Plains, trying to outrun the 22 felony charges from the Dept of Justice, that he wouldn’t have time to continue to siphon public money to his bankrupt RLDC. So much for common sense. While St. Lawrence and his attorney, Michael Burke, were looking over perspective jurors, his corrupt machine was still still cranking up the giant sucking sound at Town Hall on Route 59, vacuuming millions in public assets. At the other end of the pipe, almost six million was blowing in at the RLDC office over at the ballpark.
Not one dollar? How about another $5.8 million?
On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, as Christopher St. Lawrence and his attorneys took their seats at the defense table at the White Plains federal courthouse, gofers from St. Lawrence’s RLDC (Ramapo Local Development Corporation) were filing the deed and tax papers at the County Clerk’s Office for a piece of town property they just sold to a developer. The RLDC board member whose name is on the papers is Moses Gross, and the buyer’s name is Joseph Cohen. The deed was signed over to the Parkway Gateway Development, LLC, with an address at 350 Fifth Avenue in New York City. That’s the address of the Empire State Building, and the LLC stands for “We’d rather not use any of our names in public records, thank you.”
What they sold
Across the street from the baseball stadium which was at the center of the recently concluded federal trial, there are 25 wooded acres. Until recently, this piece of property belonged to you, the taxpayers. It is on the Southwest corner of Route 45 and Pomona Road. The original sale price in the fall of 2005 was $2 million. It’s a very nice buffer at a corner where traffic can be problematic at various times of the day due to Pomona Road and the Palisades Parkway exit.
Then, on March 24, 2016, the Ramapo Town Board gave the property, all 25 acres, to the Ramapo Local Development Corp (RLDC), just gave it to them. Supervisor St. Lawrence’s RLDC is the development company that built the ballpark and the high-density Elm Street project, whose 11 buildings today are occupied, apparently, exclusively by Orthodox tenants and LLC landlords. And how much were the taxpayers compensated for this prime real estate? A sucker’s damp handshake—zero, nothing—four fingers flicked out from beneath the chin of the Supervisor at the residents.
This seeming theft of public property happened despite New York State law that insists that the Town of Ramapo and St. Lawrence’s RLDC operate at arm’s length from each other, and that the funds of the Town and the RLDC not be commingled. One would guess commingling also means you shouldn’t just hand over millions in tax dollars to the Supervisor’s perpetually broke development corp.
To make matters worse, St. Lawrence, still pulling strings from the defense table in White Plains, sold 301 Pomona Road to a developer for $5,770,000.00. First he arranged to give the property away, to himself and his RLDC, and then he turned around to bank the sale price himself. That money is now in the hands of his RLDC.
At a recent (post conviction) meeting of the Ramapo Town Board, Deputy Supervisor Yitzy Ullman and the Board set in motion a way to wrest control of the RLDC from the convicted felon who once was in charge and now awaits the assignment of new living quarters, courtesy of federal taxpayers. But even that won’t entirely dismantle the cash pipeline to the RLDC. Some major deconstruction has to be begun, immediately, and the contracts and MOUs (memorandums of understanding) with Bottom 9 Baseball have to be hauled out of the desk drawers, re-examined and redefined.
We assume the disgraced ex-supervisor/CEO of the RLDC is banned for life from the premises of his former castle on Pomona Road. The king is dead, but the RLDC lives on with a staff of Moses Gross, John Brunson, and, unless the title has been reassigned since we saw the last documents, close friend of St. Lawrence, Ms. Kerry Potter, is still the acting Executive Director, having replaced the also convicted Aron Troodler. The legal entanglements of that entire corrupt enterprise has to be dealt with.