Remarks Prepared for Ramapo Town Supervisor Charged with Securities Fraud in Connection with Ramapo Municipal Bonds
In the spring of 2010, Ramapo’s Town Board wanted to build a minor league baseball stadium backed by $16.5 million in long-term bonds to be paid with tax dollars.
But it was a swing and a miss—nearly 70 percent of the votes cast by the public were against public funding of this project.
After the initial resolution was overwhelmingly rejected, Christopher St. Lawrence, the town supervisor, was ready to play ball. He assured people this venture would be privately funded.
More than half of the project was allegedly financed on behalf of the town, and the taxpayers who voiced their opinion in the general vote didn’t know.
The Ramapo Local Development Corporation (RLDC) was the not-for-profit corporation tasked with development initiatives in Ramapo, which allowed them to issue bonds to the public.
St. Lawrence served on the RLDC’s Board of Directors and also as their president.
N. Aaron Troodler, an assistant town attorney for the Town of Ramapo, served as their executive director.
St. Lawrence and Troodler allegedly engaged in a complex securities fraud scheme so they could hide the public funds being used for the stadium and other projects.
The illegal activity allegedly continued even after the players became aware the town and the RLDC were subjects of a federal investigation.
Public corruption poses a fundamental threat to our way of life, wasting billions of your tax dollars every year. Investigating public corruption remains among the FBI’s top priorities. We are singularly situated to combat this type of corruption, with the skills and capabilities to run complex operations.
As always, our success is due in large part to the cooperation we receive from our federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
We’d like to thank our partners from the Southern District of New York:
- U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara
- Perry Carbone, co-chief of the White Plains Division
- And the AUSAs in charge of the prosecution: Jay McMahon and Andrew Dember
Many thanks to Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe and the task force detectives who worked this case with us.
We’d also like to recognize the outstanding work of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, under the leadership of Director Andrew Ceresney from their Enforcement Division, for their exceptional contributions and support throughout this investigation.
Last but not least, I extend my sincere congratulations to Supervisory Special Agent Brian O’Rourke and his team for their work on this investigation.