RAMAPO, N.Y. -- State Sen David Carlucci, (D-Rockland/Westchester) , reacting on Thursday to allegations of securities fraud levied against Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and another man, said elected officials who flout the law “have no place in government.”
He called the allegations, if proven to be true, “a gross violation of the public trust.”
A federal indictment was unsealed Thursday against St. Lawrence and N. Aaron Troddler, former executive director of the Ramapo Local Development Corp. (RLDC), as part of an FBI probe into the finances of Provident Bank Park, a baseball stadium in Pomona.
According to Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, the two are facing 22 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy in connection with municipal bonds issued by the town and the RLDC.
The bonds were used to build the stadium in 2012, according to media reports.
St. Lawrence and Troodler "kicked truth and transparency to the curb, selling over $150 million of municipal bonds on fabricated financials," Bharara said.
"In doing so, they defrauded both the citizens of Ramapo and thousands of municipal bond investors around the country," he said.
The movement of money between town accounts and the RLDC is also part of the investigation, Bharara said.
The charges of municipal bond-related criminal securities fraud appear to be the first ever bought against public officials, the U.S. attorney said.
Carlucci used the occasion to reiterate his demands for “comprehensive ethics reform.”
Such reforms are just the beginning, the senator said, of restoring “public trust in government.”
Carlucci said the state comptroller’s office must be provided “with the tools necessary to provide oversight to the 303 local development corporations across the state.”
“This is crucial to ensure that we will shine a spotlight on a large part of government that often operates in the dark," Carlucci added.
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