St. Lawrence Trial Day 16, May 15, 2017
There were three prosecution witnesses who appeared in the morning, and then the court scheduled the calendar and discussed summary statements in the afternoon. By the end of the day, it was decided that there would be two more witnesses presenting evidence against the Supervisor on Tuesday morning, and then the prosecution would rest. St. Lawrence’s defense attorney said that there would be no presentation for the defense. No witnesses would be called to contradict, to contest, or try to dismiss the evidence from the FBI, the SEC, auditors, and personal witnesses to St. Lawrence’s machinations that have been presented against his client for the past two weeks. Judge Seibel then asked the accused whether he would take the stand in his own defense. St. Lawrence replied: “Your honor, I’ve made a personal decision not to testify.” So there will be no defense. Just a speech by his attorney to the jury.
Where are the partners and avid supporters for this Supervisor for the past decade? Where is Michael Tauber, his partner in the Elm Street project. Where are the Lebovits’ who are the beneficiaries of the spot-downzoning at Patrick Farm? Granted, Burke can’t call some who have also been indicted, but where are the others? All backing away, and turning from what they see coming. Just more proof, I guess, of the expression, “There’s something wrong with your character if opportunity controls your loyalty.”
Summary of the day’s three witnesses from The Journal News:
“— Ciro Cuono of the town’s former accounting firm, PKF O’Connor Davies, testified about letters of commitment signed by St. Lawrence stating that everything was in order with the town’s finances.
Under cross-examination from Burke, Cuono said the firm signed an opinion that it found all the town’s accounting procedures were correct.
The Westchester-based accounting firm and one of its senior partners subsequently agreed to pay more than a half-million dollars in penalties for issuing fraudulent audit reports in connection with Ramapo’s funding to build the stadium.
— Christopher Harnett, a regional official from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), testified about Ramapo’s filing for $3.1 million in reimbursements for hurricane damage.
Prosecutors claim St. Lawrence falsely included the FEMA payments as revenue in the town’s budget to boost the general fund’s balance in an effort to improve its chances of getting a better interest rate from investors buying its bonds.
Prosecutor Daniel Loss took Harnett through the town’s application and FEMA’s approval process. In the end, prosecutors claim, the town at the time received nearly $800,000 in FEMA funds in 2012, not the $3.1 million listed in its bond documents.
On cross-examination, Burke questioned Harnett about delays in getting the funding.”
Read the complete Journal News coverage here.
Coming up Tuesday:
The final two witnesses for the prosecution will take the stand. The Journal News reports that one of these witnesses will be bringing a display that charts the bank loans and finances behind the Ramapo Local Development Corps. (St. Lawrence’s RLDC) and the Elm Street condo complex, also known as Ramapo Commons. That should be helpful—the web is pretty wide.
After the witnesses, there will be the instructions to the jury by Judge Seibel, and the summary of the prosecutors will begin. The summaries will likely go into Wednesday, and the jury could begin deliberation by Thursday. There are 22 felony counts to address.