Press Release: September 27, 2014
Just a week ago today, Ramapo Supervisor Christopher
St. Lawrence announced that he would not allow poll watchers at the
townwide Ramapo Ward referendum this coming Tuesday. To everyone's
surprise his outrageous decision was supported by Judge Garvey of
the New York Supreme Court.
The ward referendum was designed to assure that
Ramapo would have true representative government instead of a town
supervisor who acts as a dictator supported by a rubber stamp town
board elected at large.
For years most of Ramapo's voters have slept on
Election Day while Dictator St. Lawrence and the developers and slum
lords who support him stole our democracy. Will our voters wake up
and support the ward system on Tuesday?
Below I have appended my comments to today's article
in the Journal News where leading elected representatives in
Rockland county have deplored Supervisor St. Lawrence's remarkable
decision. His decision not to allow poll watchers was not contested
by anyone on his town board. Their passivity is a good illustration
of why we need to divide Ramapo into six wards so that we have true
representative government in Ramapo.
Many laws have loopholes. The New York election law
is complicated, over 300 pages long, and ambiguous. Nothing in the
law would prevent poll watching during a referendum. There is
relevant case law which Judge Garvey ignored when she refused to
even allow Michael Parietti to argue his case before making her
It is not surprising that a town supervisor who would FORCE his
entire civilian staff to sign an illegal gag order (currently on
appeal by Preserve Ramapo with the NYS attorney general) would also
bar poll watches.
This is the same town supervisor, Christopher St. Lawrence, who,
with 4 other town officials, is being sued for $8 million by his
former head of finance who has accused him of illegal financial
manipulations and lying to Moody's about our town finances.
The same town supervisor who went ahead and built a $60 million
stadium we did not want after his bond issue was opposed by 71% of
The same town supervisor who claimed not a cent of public funds
would be spend on his stadium which his own financial analyst wrote
would cost only $20 million.
The same town supervisor who build what he called a "affordable"
housing project that cost so much no Hasidim or almost anyone else
in our community could afford and then illegally sold the empty
apartments to LLCs which are now renting them to folks coming in
from out of town.
The same town supervisor who has given Ramapo's builders and
slumlords a blank check and looks the other way when people are
crammed into firetraps, rent is collected in cash and real estate
taxes not collected.
What a great deal for the money men who have made an informal
agreement with St. Lawrence: Let us do anything we want, and you can
do anything you want.
And then they spend a fortune arguing that the proposed ward system
has nothing to do with how our town is run, but is based only on
It is legal to lie to the public but it is not legal to lie to
financial bodies and Ramapo is probably still the most financially
stressed town in NYS, but we don't know because St. Lawrence has not
given NYS the complete financial information it needs to rank
If St. Lawrence eventually goes to jail it will probably be because
of felonies related to his reporting of Ramapo finances. We will
only know the true state of Ramapo's terrible finances if or when
the FBI's 40 member evidence squad raid on town hall on May 15, 2013
is followed up by federal indictments and conviction.
Robert I. Rhodes, Chairman,