“Spring Valley village Trustee Vilair Fonvil was arrested Tuesday on corruption charges accusing him of running a scheme to pocket money meant to pay for busing village children to camp last summer, Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe announced.
Fonvil was charged with four felonies: receiving reward for official misconduct; corrupting the government; grand larceny as a crime of public corruption; and money laundering.
Fonvil, 54, whose address was listed as 23 Devon Drive, West Orange, New Jersey, surrendered Tuesday morning to members of the District Attorney’s Office Special Investigation Unit.
Outside the Rockland County Courthouse in New City, Fonvil’s lawyer, Kenneth Gribetz, said his client would plead not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday afternoon.
“He’s devoted his life to the betterment of the village,” Gribetz said. “He served as a trustee, he’s a candidate for mayor and he firmly denies the charges and allegations against him, and he’s really looking forward to his day in court. He’s done so much for the village of Spring Valley. He’s lived here since 1974.”
Gribetz would not comment on whether Fonvil maintained an address in New Jersey.
Fonvil’s arrest is the latest chapter in the political dysfunction that has beset Rockland’s largest village.
The hostility between Fonvil and his allies on the board – Trustees Asher Grossman and Sheri McGill – and Delhomme has led to lawsuits filed by both sides, and has caused village business to grind to a halt. The cost of legal fees recently prompted an insurance carrier to drop the village’s coverage.
The arrest is not his first related to Spring Valley politics.
In 2003 a jury found him guilty of four misconduct charges of making a false statement relating to election petitions. In 2014, the misdemeanor election fraud convictions were tossed out by an appeals panel.
In January of this year, he received an adjourned contemplating dismissal on harassment charges following a December fight at the Louis Kurtz Civic Center on Main Street.
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