The following editorial from Nancy Cutler appeared in Thursday’s Journal News.
“Another public official in Ramapo — Spring Valley this time — got time for abusing the public trust.
Former village Trustee Vilair Fonvil was sentenced on Sept. 17 to a year in the county jail — he faced up to 15 years in prison — for pocketing some $11,000 in precious village taxpayer dollars. He spent two days there until he was released pending an appeal.
A conviction is another stumble along the troubled path of Ramapo and Spring Valley’s ruling class: Remember when the village’s former mayor and deputy mayor got popped for taking separate, unrelated bribes on the same development project? Or when the state installed a monitor to ensure the local school district, East Ramapo, provide even the most basic education for children? Or when former town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence’s securities fraud trial was closely watched in hopes it would shed some light on the town’s mysterious and sinking finances?
And those are just a few of the highlights (lowlights?) in local government fiascos.
The scheme Fonvil used, though, is particularly galling. He manipulated longstanding summer camp funding to aid needy village kids so it could end up in his pockets.
Fonvil’s machinations have further sullied the village’s reputation and further damaged a working-class, mostly immigrant citizenry that deals with dysfunctional entities at every turn.
The conviction of Spring Valley village Trustee Vilair Fonvil on Nov. 17, 2017, is just the latest in a strong of recent corruption cases. Wochit
Fonvil led a faction that opposed all things attached to then-Mayor Demeza Delhomme.
As a testament to Spring Valley’s ever-shifting political landscape, the two were actually allies of sorts at one time. When Delhomme became mayor in December 2013, he appointed Fonvil to his empty trustee seat; within a few months, Delhomme was trying to get Fonvil removed from office. At times, Fonvil tried to return the favor. Delhomme, who on more than one occasion referred to himself as “king” of the village, hardly has an unscathed leadership record. He lost his re-election bid last year.
The Delhomme-Fonvil factions shifted, but the end result was almost always chaos.
After Fonvil was accused of ripping off the village, he called the charges against him “garbage” designed to derail his mayoral ambitions.
Instead, a felony conviction ended his political career.
Now there’s a new Spring Valley mayor — Alan Simon, a former Spring Valley and Ramapo justice who was kicked off the bench in 2016 by the state’s highest court, which cited rudeness and abusive language.”
To read the full Journal News editorial click here.