The Journal News August 7, 2015 “Federal prosecutors investigating allegations of corruption in Ramapo anticipate wrapping up the probe by October, according to a court document they filed in a civil lawsuit by an alleged whistle-blower. Suspended Ramapo finance official Melissa Reimer’s lawsuit includes conversations she taped with town officials concerning potential corruption and financial decisions of interest to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI, according to documents filed with the U.S. District Court. The recordings have been blocked from release since Feb. 4, when federal Judge Cathy Seibel granted the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s request to intervene to prevent the recordings from being turned over to Ramapo’s lawyers, according to court documents. In a heavily redacted court document dated June 30, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara asked Seibel for another three-month hold on one of Reimer’s recordings. The approved request extends the stay until October. “The government now moves that the court stay discovery of the … recording for an additional 90 days, during which time the government anticipates it will complete its investigation and make charging decisions in this matter,” Bharara wrote in the document.” See complete Journal News coverage here.
The Journal News August 5, 2015 “East Ramapo school Board President Yehuda Weissmandl said that a new civil lawsuit targeting board members is counterproductive and will unnecessarily drain district funds. The new civil complaint, filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court, calls on board members to reimburse the district $2 million in legal fees spent fighting a federal class-action civil rights lawsuit brought by parents in 2012. Plaintiffs state that board members violated their financial management responsibilities by hiring “excessively expensive” attorneys to represent them. Pro bono law firm Advocates for Justice represented parents in both cases.
The new lawsuit names current and past board members as well as their law firms — Philadelphia-based Morgan Lewis and Bockius and New York City-based Proskauer Rose — as defendants. It calls on the court to compel the defendants to reimburse the district all legal fees in excess of $187,500 associated with their defense in the federal class action lawsuit between 2012 and 2014.” Read the complete Journal News story here.
The Journal News August 4, 2015 “Officials say they won’t know until the end of this week how many absentee and affidavit ballots from September’s contested ward system vote are valid. Since they started on July 29, employees at Town Hall have gone through 653 absentee ballots and about 300 of 2,500 affidavit ballots to determine whether they can be counted.” Click here to read the Journal News coverage.
Original post August 2, 2015 When the news broke that the newly elected East Ramapo Board member Juan Ramirez quit after just one meeting, the move caused quite a few raised eyebrows. The most interesting, and thoughtful response was posted by Steve White on his Power of Ten blog. Here’s what Steve had to say about this very odd maneuver: [Read more…]
The Journal News July 29, 2015 “The balloting ended nearly a year ago, but the counting has only just begun. Town officials on Wednesday began the laborious task of validating more than 3,000 absentee and affidavit ballots from September’s contested ward system vote under the watchful scrutiny of critics who have alleged election fraud.Officials said the paper processing could take days.
Journal News Editorial–July 26, 2015 “On July 29, the ballots will be tallied by town officials — who have most at stake in preserving the status quo. The count will be done publicly, in a room in Town Hall. But many remain concerned that impartial and pro-ward participants won’t have enough access to ensure all — and only — relevant ballots are tallied. . . Ramapo Town Clerk Christian Sampson described a prescribed process for validating the approximately 550 absentee and 2,500 affidavit ballots. Town of Ramapo employees will perform those tasks. “Of course the media will be invited,” he said, along with the petitioners, “and there may be room for others to come in and observe the process … but they can’t interject in the process.” [Read more…]
Posted by The Rockland County Times — July 16th, 2015
BY JANIE ROSMAN A multitude of allegations against the East Ramapo Central School District are detailed in a lawsuit — Montesa v. Schwartz, 12-cv-06057, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan) — filed on behalf of parents, students and taxpayers by public interest law firm Advocates for Justice on August 8, 2012. [Read more…]
East Ramapo superintendent to lose post
The Journal News July 19, 2015 “The East Ramapo school district will soon remove beleaguered Superintendent Joel Klein from his post, almost a year before his contract is set to expire, several sources told The Journal News. In recent weeks, the school board has faced intensifying pressure to distance itself from him – from community protests in front of Klein’s home demanding his resignation to state Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch calling for the same. The district, while not confirming that any action was imminent, did confirm “that Klein was in the last year of his contract and that the school board would soon develop a process for replacement.” Complete Journal News Coverage here.
The Journal News July 16, 2015 “Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, D-New City, also pressed the New York State Department of Education in a separate letter to enforce regulations mandating private schools in Rockland submit annual fire inspection reports showing the facilities are safe and meet regulations. He said 60 schools are in violation. Zebrowski and a countywide housing task force have raised concerns for several years that the lives of firefighters, students, and predominately poor tenants are being endangered by overcrowded houses carved up into multiple apartments and schools being operated in single-family homes without proper fire suppression equipment. [Read more…]