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 historical decision.

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 voters.

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 anti-Semitism!

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 Ramapo.

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,

Preserve Ramapo