“After months of negotiations and $1.7 million so far in legal fees, the Ramapo Town Board has offered to settle a civil case involving fraud accusations made by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The proposed settlement the Town Board approved 5-0 on Wednesday involves the town government and the Ramapo Local Development Corp., the town’s economic development arm that fronted the financing of the town baseball stadium and its Elm Street housing complex.
The SEC case continues — along with town legal costs — against former Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, former RLDC Executive Director Aaron Troodler, Town Attorney Michael Klein, and Receiver of Taxes Nat Oberman. The town is required by public officer’s law to pay their legal fees.
The SEC case mirrors the federal prosecution that produced a corruption conviction in May against St. Lawrence, forcing the Democrat out of office after 16 years. Troodler, a former deputy town attorney, pleaded guilty to securities fraud charges and testified against St. Lawrence.
The financing of the baseball stadium and housing complex with fraudulent documents filed with the SEC seeking financing from bond investors formed the core of the federal case against St. Lawrence and Troodler.
Attorneys representing Ramapo and the RLDC have been negotiating a settlement with SEC lawyers for nearly six months, officials said. The Town Board’s offer results from those talks, but awaits approval and/or modification by SEC officials and U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel.
Councilman Patrick Withers said he hopes “the SEC and the court will agree to the proposed settlement because legal fees are climbing.”
Withers, a retired NYPD officer, was the only board member who testified against St. Lawrence. As a result of his testimony, he lost the support needed to make a successful run for re-election in November.
Under the proposed settlement, Ramapo and the RLDC would not admit any guilt. Ramapo’s legal fees for the town and RLDC, alone, amounted to about $700,000.”
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