At the last Ramapo Town Board meeting, Bill Weber spoke during the public participation portion of the Ramapo Town Board meeting. He questioned Supervisor St. Lawrence about the most recent Moody’s report which indicated that the Town of Ramapo was at risk of having its bond rating withdrawn or lowered due to the fact that they have not completed and filed their 12/31/2015 audited financial statements. Weber reminded St. Lawrence and the board that the town’s current bond rating is A3 and any further reduction would most likely put the bond rating somewhere in the B category, which would be a terrible outcome for the taxpayers of Ramapo. [Read more…]
The following is from a Journal News editorial Jan. 10, 2017
“Ramapo’s rampant over-development and strained tax rolls didn’t passively sprout. The misbegotten state of affairs is of the town leadership’s own making. Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, now facing a federal trial on accusations he fudged the town’s fiscal health to fool investors, has pushed policies that have unraveled the town in so many ways. Town Board members — all Democrats, like St. Lawrence — have done little to stop him, and land-use board members, controlled by St. Lawrence, abetted development gone wild.
The motivation? Money. Developers, who often fill campaign coffers of local officials, build and build, and the demand for housing grows and grows. [Read more…]
On Sunday, The Journal News devoted its entire front section to an examination of the accelerating, crushing growth in the Town of Ramapo. The cautionary lead on the front page was followed by six feature articles in section one, all dealing with the growing crisis in a town with uncontrolled development, a collapsing tax base, and top-level administrators busy working on their legal defenses against scores of federal charges. The dry rot resulting from endemic political corruption threatens the entire community.
The six features in section one are divided by six separate themes:
“It’s Ramapo’s lack of zoning and safety code enforcement, not religion, that has encouraged development chaos and divided the town. [Read more…]
The headline in last Monday’s The Journal News read “Ramapo: State’s powers over building, fire inspections detailed.” Ramapo and Spring Valley now have State watchdogs “assigned to monitor the Ramapo Building Department [with] access to department records and [the power to] direct inspectors to address critical threats to life and public safety.” A proper subhead for the story could have been: “It’s about time.” The effort by local firefighters to get someone to step in and enforce the fire code regulations in the Town of Ramapo has been going on, literally, for decades. Standing in the way have been the federally indicted Christopher St. Lawrence, the Ramapo Town Board, and the bloc vote that keeps all of them in Town Hall.
To understand this sorry legacy of neglect requires a brief review of the history of tension between fire officials and numerous Ramapo and State politicians. [Read more…]
“The anticipated federal corruption trial against Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and a former top economic development aide has been rescheduled for April, with the judge promising no more delays, court documents say.
St. Lawrence, a Democrat and the town’s 16-year supervisor, and former deputy town attorney Aaron Troodler face charges of securities and wire fraud and conspiracy involving the financing of the town’s baseball stadium and other projects developed through the Ramapo Local Development Corp. Troodler served as the quasi-government’s executive director, while St. Lawrence chaired the agency’s three-member board. [Read more…]
From The Bond Buyer
By Jack Casey
WASHINGTON – The Ramapo Local Development Corp. and three individuals facing Securities and Exchange Commission securities fraud charges are asking a federal judge to dismiss the SEC’s complaint, claiming, among other things, that no one was hurt.
The four defendants are separately responding to the SEC’s complaint filed on April 14 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. They are each also asking for a jury trial.
The individuals are: Christopher St. Lawrence, supervisor and director of finance for the town, as well as president of the RLDC; Aaron Troodler, the former executive director of the RLDC; and Nathan Oberman, the town’s deputy finance director. [Read more…]
By the time he arrived at Airmont Village Court, at 5:10 this afternoon, Ramapo Board Member Shmuel (a.k.a Samuel) Tress had already submitted his resignation to the board, to which he had only recently been elected in January. It was the shortest term in recent memory and was part of a plea agreement to satisfy a felony and Class A misdemeanor charge. Tress resigned this morning according to Chief Ramapo Attorney Michael Klein, who, himself, is facing more than 20 federal charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. [Read more…]
Story by Joel Grossbarth posted in the Rockland County Times August 24, 2016
(The four Ramapo defendants facing federal charges have more to look forward to than fines, sanctions and prison time.)
A Federal Appeals Court has upheld the tactic of pension forfeiture in the fight against political corruption. [Read more…]
86 Highview Road Photo by Michael D’Onofrio The Journal News
“The Tallman Fire Department has come out against a proposed plan that would install a temporary modular unit and build a permanent school for hundreds of female students in a residential neighborhood on Highview Road because of safety concerns.
Fire Chief Christopher Stevens sent letters to Ramapo’s Chief Building Inspector, Tony Mallia, in June and July objecting to a proposed religious school for 250 female students ages 3-16 at 86 Highview Rd. [Read more…]
Defense motions are due by Sept. 12, with the prosecution scheduled to respond by Sept. 25.
A federal judge on Thursday set a Jan. 9 trial date in the corruption case against Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and former town lawyer Aaron Troodler.
Prosecutors estimated they would need to call more than 30 witnesses and the trial could take four to five weeks to complete. Attorneys for St. Lawrence and Troodler didn’t comment on those estimates. [Read more…]