Ray Canario’s trial opens in Evergreen Court inspection case

“A Rockland County Court judge heard two contrasting descriptions of former Spring Valley Building Inspector Ray Canario during Monday’s opening of his non-jury trial on charges of providing false information to the state concerning village inspections.

Prosecutor Michael Dugandzic argued the evidence will show that Canario knowingly made false statements in state reports from 2017 to 2019 concerning the village’s tally of completed inspections and falsely reported inspections were done, including the Evergreen Court Home for Adults. Two people, including a firefighter, died in an inferno at the facility in March 2021.

The inspection reports centered on several years before the fatal fire, but the blaze kick-started the investigation into the Spring Valley Building Department. Canario, a former fire chief, battled the blaze with dozens of other volunteers who removed 112 people from the massive Lafayette Street building.

Dugandzic told Judge Kevin Russo that Canario knew the numbers he submitted in his mandated 1203 reports to the state were not accurate, accusing Canario of fraud.

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Canario’s attorney, Stefanie Jordan, viewed the prosecution’s scenario as rubbish. She told the judge he will hear that Canario is a hard-working longtime volunteer firefighter who has dedicated himself to the people of Spring Valley.

She noted during her cross-examination of prosecution witnesses that there were reporting mistakes and the state made errors. But she said Canario did the best he could under the circumstances of lacking proper training and working in a dysfunctional department without direction and leadership.

Months after the fatal fire on March 22, 2021, a grand jury returned charges against six people.

Canario was charged with three felony counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and three misdemeanor counts of second-degree offering a false instrument for filing.”

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