“The King returns.” Who would have thought otherwise? After all, this is the man who once, after a successful re-election campaign, announced to the Democratic Committee leader that he was “The King of Ramapo.” So when he returned this morning, just a half-day after his supervised field trip to White Plains to be arraigned on 22 federal fraud counts, to a space where he normally doesn’t spend much time, his office at Ramapo Town Hall, who could be surprised? When you have a stadium-size ego you’re probably expected to lack some peripheral vision. What was it that Leona Helmsley used to say: “Proper appearances are for the little people.” Or was that taxes? [Read more…]
At the end of an historic day here in the Town of Ramapo here are the two essential documents outlining the charges against four major Ramapo politicians and executives. Also below are the complete video coverage of the Preet Bharara press conference in New York and two stories broadcast on CBS and ABC this evening.
To sum up–Supervisor St. Lawrence was removed from his home at dawn, arrested and arraigned. He posted a $500,000 bond and is facing 22 federal charges. Aaron Troodler is facing the same set of charges (see the 30-page indictment). Town attorney Michael Klein and Finance Director Nate Oberman were named in a similar SEC complaint (see 40-page document).
Click on the links below:
SEC Press Release includes link to the complete SEC complaint against St. Lawrence, Troodler, Michael Klein, and Nate Oberman
Video of the complete press conference given by Preet Bharara in Manhattan today.
Text of the federal complaint unsealed today against Christopher St. Lawrence and Aaron Troodler.
Thursday night’s News coverage on Channel 2 and Channel 7
Satisfaction and disappointment were among the reactions Thursday morning to Democratic Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence’s arrest on charges related to the funding of the town’s controversial baseball stadium.
Michael Castelluccio of Preserve Ramapo, which has been seeking to oust St. Lawrence for years, called the charges “a beginning, not an end, to what needs to happen in the Town of Ramapo.”
He said the arrest was “not only a vindication, but it’s also a tremendous shot in the arm for his grassroots political group “to continue as watchdogs and sources.”
“We are very gratified by the action taken by the FBI today,” Castelluccio said. “If their preparation is as thorough in their case against St. Lawrence as it was for the Spring Valley officials now in federal prison, we can look forward to a similar outcome.” [Read more…]
There is no joy in Ramapo — at least there shouldn’t be. Vindication, yes. But the federal arrest at dawn Thursday of Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence portends poorly for the town’s current and future finances, to say nothing of the town’s reputation.
St. Lawrence must step down, immediately, along with all other officials who get swept up in this latest scandal.
But town taxpayers are still facing a mess. According to U.S Attorney Preet Bharara, St. Lawrence and his co-conspirators “cooked the books” and shuffled money around to make town finances look healthier. No matter what becomes of the federal charges against St. Lawrence, we can be assured, unfortunately, that town taxpayers will be the ones to pay.
This case is the first municipal bond-related securities fraud prosecution ever. But the scheme is as old as the hills — the manipulation of the public trust to gain power.
St. Lawrence must go, now, along with any other town official implicated in this mess. It would be at least some salve for the financial wounds that federal authorities say have been inflicted on the town and its taxpayers.
Read the complete text here.
Steve Lieberman reporting for the Journal News from the US Attorney’s press conference in Manhattan had the following to add the developing story.
“Bharara, at the news conference, said the two town leaders ‘kicked truth and transparency to the curb,’ defrauding both town residents and municipal bond investors.”
“The SEC brought it’s own fraud charges simultaneously against St. Lawrence and Troodler, as well as Ramapo, the RLDC (Ramapo Local Development Corp) and two other town officials–Town Attorney Michael Klein and Deputy Finance Director Nathan Oberman.”
St. Lawrence and Troodler have been charged with federal securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy. Read the full indictment here.
Read The New York Times “Ramapo Town Supervisor Arrested in Federal Fraud Case” here.
The indictment unsealed today with the arrest of Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence also named Aaron Troodler who was the Executive Director of the Ramapo Local Development Corp (RLDC) and former Assistant Town Attorney for Ramapo.
The US Attorney of the Southern District of NY also announced:
There will be a press conference today at 11:00 a.m. to announce charges against Christopher St. Lawrence, the Supervisor of the Town of Ramapo, New York, and highest ranking public official in Ramapo, and N. Aaron Troodler, the former Executive Director of the Ramapo Local Development Corporation with securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy in connection with municipal bonds. This is believed to be the first municipal bond-related securities fraud prosecution ever. Preet Bharara will present the charges at 11:00 am at 1 St Andrew’s Plaza in New York City.
Federal agents and District Attorney’s Office detectives arrested Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence Thursday morning on charges tied to the financing of the town’s controversial baseball stadium through its economic development agency.
St. Lawrence faces charges of violating federal laws. St. Lawrence, who also served as Ramapo Local Development Corporation chairman, is accused of overstating town assets when filing documents to obtain the $25 million in municipal bonds used to build Provident Bank Park off Route 45 outside Pomona in 2012.
Investigators also looked into the movement of money between the local development corporation and town accounts, including possible commingling of funds, and whether the LDC that oversaw the stadium project generated money and repaid the town.
Preet Bharara’s U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI had been working the case with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which can file civil charges for violations of federal law. [Read more…]
Adam Peltz could face disciplinary charges and potential dismissal from his job as Ramapo fire inspector
From the Journal News
“Embattled Fire Inspector Adam Peltz has been placed on desk duty and prohibited from inspecting buildings for compliance with safety codes until an investigation into his work is completed, town officials said Wednesday.
Peltz’s benching came after state officials accused him of failing to cite numerous violations at four private schools. The Building Department and Town attorney’s office are reviewing Peltz’s work and re-inspecting the buildings cited by the state, which inspected the schools Peltz signed off on. [Read more…]