To the Editor,
Preet Bahara has done his job and indicted Supervisor St. Lawrence and Aaron Troodler for criminal bond fraud. And the SEC has done its job and indicted St. Lawrence, Aaron Troodler, Michael Klein and Nat Oberman for civil bond fraud. Unfortunately, these federal agencies have no authority over the conduct of ordinary affairs in Ramapo and cannot take responsibility for the cash emergency that is approaching.
Ramapo has essentially been operated as a Ponzi scheme for years. Millions of dollars of nonexistent accounts receivable are currently carried on our books and it appears that St. Lawrence has illegally skimmed $12 million from the ambulance tax line in order to hide the red ink.
Every year Ramapo borrows money on a “temporary” basis based on the false claim that its revenue is going up. It then converts this note into a new bond. We have to ask:
1. Has this temporary loan been received? If it has not been received is Ramapo going to be able to do this in fiscal 2016?
2. Is Ramapo going to be able to issue a new bond? The SEC has asked the court to exclude the principal members of the St. Lawrence administration from any involvement in such a bond process. Will the court follow through with this request? Who will take responsibility for the issuing of a new bond? Given the current indictments and the revelation by the SEC that Ramapo has an accumulated deficit of $16 million that is not on our books will Ramapo be able to issue this bond?
3. Will Ramapo reinstate Melissa Reimer as the head of finance? (Readers may recall that she was suspended three years ago by St. Lawrence because she refused to cooperate with his financial manipulations. She currently has a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Ramapo, St. Lawrence and four other members of St. Lawrence’s administration.)
4. Last summer Ramapo had trouble paying its utility bills. The situation is going to be much worse very soon. When will the cash flow crisis arrive?
If St. Lawrence and his town board had any integrity it would be discussing our dire financial situation in public. Unfortunately, our town board has no integrity and will continue to do everything in its power to hide our current financial situation. Hard to believe, but Supervisor St. Lawrence and his boys still seem incapable of acting in an honest and transparent manner.
Are there accountants in our community willing to step forward and do a far more professional examination of the current situation than I can? We should also ask what the office of the NYS Comptroller is going to do. While this office has no power to indict, and it cannot order our town board to do anything it would be nice if it took a look at our situation and made appropriate recommendations.
Robert I. Rhodes
Chairman, Preserve Ramapo