St. Lawrence Trial Day 15 May 11, 2017 Journal News coverage follows:
“Christopher St. Lawrence said it would take “a magician” to reach the numbers he gave to Moody’s Investors Services, according to a taped 2013 conversation played Thursday during the Ramapo supervisor’s federal corruption trial.
The tape, made surreptitiously by a finance official, contained conversations during and after a Jan. 25, 2013, conference call between town officials and Moody’s representatives.
St. Lawrence is heard boasting during the call about the town’s financial health, telling Moody’s that business was booming.
After the conference call ended, town officials, including St. Lawrence and deputy finance director Nat Oberman, could be heard laughing.
Then St. Lawrence, referring to his wish to refinance a series of short-term notes and bonds, is heard saying: “Listen, I’m going to tell you this right now, we need to get the refinancing done. Those numbers, we’re going to have to be a magician to get those numbers.”
The tape was made by Melissa Reimer, who was then the town’s supervisor of fiscal services and budget director.
Reimer, who has been suspended and is suing the town as a whistleblower, returned to the witness stand Thursday, the 15th day of St. Lawrence’s trial.
Reimer faced nearly two hours of blistering cross-examination from defense lawyer Michael Burke, who questioned her veracity based on misstatements she gave during the disciplinary hearings that led to her suspension.
Reimer admitted she was secretly audiotaping officials using her iPhone, not the iPad officials asked her about.
“I was misleading them because I didn’t trust them,” she said.
“I misled the investigators to protect myself,” Reimer said.
Burke’s attempt to erode her credibility also led to her to confirm that she’s asking for $10 million in a pair of legal actions against the town.
He also hammered away at Reimer’s credentials, getting her to admit she had no municipal accounting experience when she was hired in 2002. She said she was licensed as a certified public accountant in California and didn’t think she needed to get a New York license.
“I thought a CPA is a CPA,” she said.
[PR Editor’s note: St. Lawrence, when he first ran for Supervisor, told The Journal News that he held a BA and an MA from Harvard University. That was a lie that he carried forward for years before Preserve Ramapo exposed him. Harvard University verified that St. Lawrence did not graduate nor did he get any degrees from their school.]
Reimer also testified that in 2011 she submitted unaudited financial numbers despite being told not to by St. Lawrence, and that her $30 million estimate of the town’s 2010 expenditures was nearly $8 million too high.
Under re-direct questioning from prosecutor James McMahon, Reimer agreed the $8 million difference could have come from money transferred for risk retention and debt service payments.
McMahon, who said the government alleges the $3.080 million is fraudulent, asked Reimer what should have been done with that revenue line in the budget.
“It should not stay in if it’s not real,” she said.
Thursday was Day 15 of the trial before U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel in White Plains.
Also Thursday: McMahon said it was possible the prosecution would rest its case Monday.
When asked by Seibel, Burke said he had not decided if St. Lawrence would testify and did not provide details on the witnesses he would call.
Seibel said Burke had to tell the prosecution by Monday whether the supervisor would take the stand.
Seibel said final arguments could start as soon as Wednesday.
Up next: Court continues Monday, with prosecution witnesses from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the town’s former accounting firm and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Teno West, a former bond counsel to the town, also may testify.”
Read the complete Journal News coverage here.