BOB RHODES CALLS STADIUM PROJECT “ILLEGAL”

To the Editor,

Yes, as Ramapo town attorney Michael Klein tells us in this week’s Journal News, the stadium was a joint project between Ramapo and the Ramapo Local Development Corporation (LDC). What he does not tell you is that it was an illegal joint project.

The LDC was created in accordance with New York law and under New York law it was supposed to be a totally independent organization. The certificate of incorporation stated that the RLDC must “conduct its business in its own name and conduct all material transactions between the Corporation and the Town only on an arm’s length basis.” It further stated that the LDC must “pay all expenses, indebtedness and other obligations incurred by it.” We assume “other obligations” would include reparations caused by the RLDC’s illegal acts.

Ramapo has, most generously, decided to take responsibility. What about the engineering firm that designed the project, the firm that illegally dumped fill in a wetland, and Holt which was paid several million dollars to oversee the project? But, most particularly, what about Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence who was, we believe illegally, also the President of the LDC which was supposed to be a totally independent entity.

Has there been a coverup? Did St. Lawrence “expedite” the project with an illegal order to dump fill in a wetland.

The NYS Comptroller raised serious constitutional issues regarding the confused relationship between Ramapo and the Ramapo LDC but never challenged either party in court. New York State has wonderful laws but apparently has such limited resources that it doesn’t enforce most of them. We do not believe that New York’s failure to enforce its own laws and the legally binding obligations recognized by the LDC in its own articles of incorporation should leave the taxpayers of Ramapo on the hook.

Sincerely,

Robert I. Rhodes
Chairman, Preserve Ramapo