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Prosecutors: Ramapo Bilked Ballpark Investors

Rockland BouldersU.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has filed charges against two Ramapo (NY) officials over the financing of Provident Bank Park, home of the Rockland Boulders (independent; Can-Am League), arguing investors were defrauded through a false portrayal of the town’s finances.

Indicted: Town supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and Aaron Troodler, director of the nonprofit Ramapo Local Development Corporation (PLDC). Specifically, the argument is that the pair misstated the city’s financial state and the potential sources of revenue to repay the bonds. From the New York Post:

They then told investors that RLDC’s bonds were being repaid with money generated by the stadium and condos that the company had put up — when really the cash was coming from bank loans or straight from town money, court papers say.

“As alleged, while ensuring the public that no town money would be used for building the stadium, St. Lawrence and Troodler, through lies and accounting manipulations, found a way for the town to fund more than half of that $58 million cost to build that stadium,” Bharara said at a press conference in Manhattan.

“The defendants then filled the big hole that opened up by these costs with the series of fake accounting entries.”…

St. Lawrence, 65, and Troodler, 42, are charged with 22 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in what feds believe are the first such charges ever involving municipal bonds.

It should be noted that the Boulders ownership and management are not party to the proceedings.