“No one, it seemed, wanted the Rockland Boulders.
Certainly not the people of Ramapo who, by a ratio of three to one, voted down a 2010 resolution that would have guaranteed $16.5 million in long-term bonds to build the 5,300-seat stadium where the Boulders play today.
That didn’t deter former Ramapo town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence. Federal prosecutors say St. Lawrence, while in office, masterminded a scheme to funnel public money to the stadium project, despite his assurances that the stadium would be built with private funds.
In March, St. Lawrence was sent to a federal prison camp in Pennsylvania to begin serving a 30-month sentence following his conviction on securities-fraud charges.
From that difficult birth, the Boulders flourished as the Hudson Valley’s lone independent league team. In 2014, they won the Can-Am League championship and two years later saw one of their own — outfielder Stephen Cardullo — debut in a major league game for the Colorado Rockies, a rare feat for a player at the lowest rung of professional baseball. Attendance — about 2,800 per game last year — consistently ranks at the top of the Can-Am league.
But seven years later, the Boulders and Ramapo find themselves at a crossroads, their fortunes entwined by a lease agreement that hinges on getting more and more fans out to Palisades Credit Union ballpark in Pomona.
An investigation by The Journal News/lohud has found:
Last year, Ramapo took in $445,000 from its lease arrangement with the Boulders, up from $381,000 in 2016 but less than the $511,000 total from 2015.
Last year’s $445,000 contributed to a total somewhere between $700,000 to $800,000 the town took in from stadium events, officials say. With roughly $2.4 million in expenses, including payments to cover debt on a $60 million stadium, that leaves Ramapo short of about $1.6 million to $1.7 million last year, town officials say.”
Read the complete Journal News coverage here.