BY JOEL GROSSBARTH
The Rockland County Sewer District has filed a lawsuit in Rockland County Supreme Court against the Town of Ramapo stemming from the failure to remove contaminated soil in Sloatsburg and Hillburn.
According to the lawsuit, the County Sewer District contracted with Ramapo on February 29, 2012. Two weeks, later, the Town provided the Sewer District with a plan to remove the soil along with a voucher for payment of $400,000 signed by Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence. On the voucher, Supervisor St. Lawrence claimed the services were “true and correct” and the services were actually delivered. Based upon the voucher, the Sewer District paid Ramapo $400,000.
Pursuant to the Agreement, the town had until August 29, 2012 to remove and/or dispose of the soil. On December 19, 2012, the town asked for, and was granted, an extension of time to remove the soil until October 31, 2013. The town then again asked for and was given an extension of time to perform until October 31, 2014.
On March 31, 2017, the County Sewer District asked the Town for records to demonstrate that the soil was removed and disposed. According to the lawsuit, the town has not provided any documentation. One only needs to look at the sites the soil has been for several years to see that the Town of Ramapo has not done anything despite being paid in 2012.
The Sewer District is seeking $1 million in actual and punitive damages against the Town of Ramapo.
It is likely that a further investigation into the town’s finances has been, or will be, undertaken as a result of this transaction. All this is happening while Supervisor St. Lawrence is on trial defending himself against fraudulent financial transactions he engineered for the Town of Ramapo.
The town has yet to formally answer the Sewer District’s Complaints. It will be interesting to see how the town decides to address these issues when they literally got caught with their hands in the cookie jar.