The corruption trial of Ramapo (NY) Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence on security fraud and wire fraud charges, some of which are related to the financing of Palisades Credit Union Park, home of the Rockland Boulders (independent; Can-Am League), is set to begin April 19.
St. Lawrence is accused of defrauding investors through a false portrayal of the town’s finances. Specifically, the argument is that the pair misstated the city’s financial state and the potential sources of revenue to repay bonds issued by the nonprofit Ramapo Local Development Corporation (PLDC). From the Journal News:
Based on the criminal indictment, prosecutors will reveal a series of illegal financial maneuvers allegedly orchestrated by St. Lawrence that left Ramapo strapped for cash in order to finance an estimated $60 million baseball stadium and other projects under the quasi-government Ramapo Local Development Corp….
The federal case claims St. Lawrence falsely inflated revenues, such as depending on ghost property sales, and illegally transferred money from other taxpayer accounts to bulk up the town’s general fund. The federal case also depends on showing St. Lawrence lied about the use of taxpayer dollars to finance the ballpark and obtain bonding….
Ramapo taxpayers paid for more than half the cost, despite voters overwhelmingly voting down $16 million in bonds to pay for construction in 2010. St. Lawrence later claimed no taxpaper money would be used to pay for the stadium, but millions were paid to contractors to work on outside portions of the park to remove contaminated dirt and build parking and other amenities.
As noted, there was serious opposition to public financing of a new Ramapo ballpark, and the trial should release more details about how it came to be.
Palisades Credit Union Park opened as Provident Bank Park in 2011. It should be noted that the Boulders are not a part of these proceedings.