A St. Lawrence Sampler

June 22, 2009 Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence has filed a lawsuit against the candidates running against him in the September 15 primary. Bruce Levine, Veronica Boesch, and Rod Lustin were served with legal notice that Mr. St. Lawrence is highly incensed over their characterization of his administration as corrupt. In this piece we take a look at an abbreviated list of some of the "gifts" this administration has offered all of us, beyond even the invention of a new kind of zoning called Adult Student Housing, and in addition to that colorful building
inspector driving around with an envelope stuffed with cash alongside the pot in the glove compartment of his town vehicle.

Corruption n. impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle; inducement to wrong by improper or unlawful means

We’ll begin with money, but the variety in this box is so far-ranging that the diagram on the inside lid includes abuses of power, denial of free speech, interference with the right to vote, lying, encouraging scofflaws, and so on. More than enough so that you won’t get stuck with just the hard caramels.

Money
St. Lawrence's salary increased by $6,164 this year (2009). In 2008, he earned $123,287. At a time when other politicians are considering taking less, he said he would not consider a salary freeze. In 2003, the supervisor’s salary was $90,694. At the beginning of 2009, it was $129,510. That’s a 42.4% increase over the last 6 years St. Lawrence has been in office—an average annual raise of 7.06%--just about double the rate for executives, managers, sales and service people throughout the country.

But that’s only part of the visible compensation. If you visit the State Board of Elections report on political donations, for 2007, 2008, and the month of January 2009, the number of total contributions to Friends of St. Lawrence is $316,838.93—that's a monthly average of about $13,200. Check the State Board website.

And there are some pretty strange anomalies with these political donations. Read FOLLOW THE BREAD CRUMBS. In the piece, the author asks, "At what point do misspelled names and addresses suggest an illegal pattern of deception in legally mandated election documents?" And why is it that the Supervisor received more big contributions from outside of Ramapo?

Did you know that the second largest donor to St. Lawrence in the last election was the developer for the Tartikov "College" in Pomona? Read here to see how the money was delivered to St. Lawrence via a mailbox account that disclosed next to nothing about the donor.

Then there’s the relationship with Stearns & Wheler, the engineering firm from Cazenovia NY that St. Lawrence often contracts with in his capacity as Commissioner on the Rockland Sewer Commission. Read Tell Me if You Smell Something for an overview. An update from the time of the article shows the engineering firm shoveling the cash even faster now as they have picked up a $50 million contract centering around the repair work demanded by a DEC order. The recent donations look like this:

May '07  $2,500.00   to Friends of Christopher P. St. Lawrence

Aug '07   $1,696.00   to Friends of Christopher P. St. Lawrence

Oct '07    $500.00     to Friends of Christopher P. St. Lawrence

Jul '08    $1,995.00    to Friends of Christopher P. St. Lawrence

Feb '08   $2,500.00    to Friends of Christopher P. St. Lawrence

Nov '08   $1,000.00    to Friends of Christopher P. St. Lawrence

 That's $10,1911.00 from One Vendor to St. Lawrence in a little over 1 ½ years.

The tracking down of the donations made by the North Haledon N.J. development company called Puddingstone is also interesting, especially in the creative ways used to report money from friends and relatives. Then it really becomes interesting with connections to a RICO lawsuit in Ramapo. Read Cracking a Rotten Nut for that branch of the tree.

Lies
The St. Lawrence era began with a lie. Running for the first time as a candidate for Supervisor, St. Lawrence told The Journal News editors that he had two degrees from Harvard. This lie appeared in his "bio" in the paper:

               

He never graduated from Harvard, even though he attended for seven years. At the time the fraudulent claim was exposed, St. Lawrence told the Journal that the Town website, which claimed he had a degree, was taken down: "We've taken it off until we can get clarification of this." That was in October 2005. He’s still looking for the sheepskins, but at least the website is no longer faking it. Below is what it used to look like when it listed his bogus credentials.

 

One of the consistent themes in the St. Lawrence administration has also proved false. When Preserve Ramapo asked him to dedicate the Open Space properties, St. Lawrence said they were absolutely protected already. He wrote a Community View (October 3, 2007) for The Journal News in which he claimed:

In response to Michael Castelluccio's Sept. 27 Community View, "Ramapo, is open space forever?" the Town of Ramapo has engaged in what is probably the most aggressive program in New York state for the purchase of land to be used for the public purposes of open space, recreation and historic preservation.

Even though we have come to expect political rhetoric at this time of year before an election, I am shocked and dismayed at recent petty political attacks questioning the town's truly historic program of land acquisition. It has been falsely stated that since the town board has not passed a resolution dedicating most of these land parcels as open space, they may be sold at the town's whim for private development. This is utter nonsense! 
Christopher St. Lawrence

As shocked and dismayed as he was, he pretty easily overcame this personal affront to his integrity when he entered into contract with a developer to sell item number 16 on his Open Space official brochure.

The Ramapo Town Board approved the sale of 65 acres in Suffern to one of the most powerful developers in the area, Jeffrey Goldstein. At the center of the deal was the man who brokered the sale, Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence. The land had been donated to the people of Ramapo by Tilcon New York, and St. Lawrence engineered the sale to Goldstein who planned to build a complex of 440 condominiums on the Suffern site. It’s interesting to note that the Goldsteins were the third highest donors to the Friends of St. Lawrence. Read the money connection in The Ramapo Land Company II Opens for Business.

Robert Rhodes and Preserve Ramapo have since sued the Town to prevent them from the selling one of the "protected" Open Spaces. Utter nonsense, hmmm. Read also The Quarry, Political Lies and the Future of Ramapo.

St. Lawrence's record as Chairman of the Sewer Commission includes long-running, blatantly false denials about the numbers of sewage spills in District #1. The cost for these denials are now coming due with a $50million repair bill ordered by the Department of Environmental Control. Read What St. Lawrence’s Dishonesty Is Going To Cost Us.

Political Corruption
Recently, the Supervisor has accused the Ramapo Democrats for Change and their committee members as not being real Democrats. Strange charge from someone who when faced with a challenge in the Democratic primary immediately headed over to Nyack to commandeer the Republican line on the September ballot. I guess that’s being a "flexible Democrat" rather than a loyal one.

Read Christopher St. Lawrence Carpetbagger for details on the Chris-coup in Nyack.

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier in his fight with Democrats for Change, one of St. Lawrence's  machine operatives was wandering around Spring Valley threatening peoples’ families.

From the sworn depositions submitted to the District Attorney’s Office:

"DELHOMME then told me, "You have signed your death condemnation because St. Lawrence told me that Jacques is a bad man and he is working with racist Jews who have paid Jacques $20,000.00 to mess up St. Lawrence's Committee." He then told me that St. Lawrence is in charge and that he can "help me or hurt me". DELHOMME then reminded me about my job with the Village of Spring Valley and said that if I acted correctly I would be "left alone".

"DEMEZA DELHOMME threatened to use his association with Town of Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence to hurt me, my children and my business, unless I ended my affiliation and political activities with the Ramapo Democratic Party, Ramapo Democrats For Change and Rockland County Legislator Jacques Michel. He then stated that he, "Joined with Supervisor St. Lawrence to destroy Jacques Michel and to make sure that the Haitians who work with and follow Jacques Michel are destroyed and kicked out of Rockland forever because they do not listen to me."

Read I’d Like to see them all dead, starting with Jacques Michel.

Then there was the Monsey developer, Jacob Wagschal, who was granted an astounding 50 variances in one application on West Central Ave. Why was this application not just dismissed out of hand at the ZBA meeting? Read The ZBA, the Cops, and the Supervisor for the connection between an impossible request by a developer and his connection to the last Supervisor's election. Then read  Monsey Developer Says St. Lawrence behind Election Fraud Scheme. The police reports offer an insight into a variation on the "pay to play" theme in Ramapo politics. Wagschal was granted the variances and since developers in the area are regularly showing up with requests for dozens of variances at a time.

Sometimes, the dishonesty extends out and taints those far outside the local political swamp. A publishing company that manufactures ratings for the safest cities in America (no, they are not the FBI), actually believed that the crime statistics for the Town of Ramapo did not include two of its largest villages, Spring Valley and Suffern. Read Criminal Fraud for an example of political propaganda in Ramapo that the public unwittingly helps pay for.

And Folks, This is just the top layer of the box
There's another layer beneath, and a number of story lines that are currently being worked on.

We have not even touched on character flaws, the kind that should exclude any political figure from serious consideration. Mr. St. Lawrence, despite having access to the kind of money discussed at the opening of this story, was a tax deadbeat for years. Read Ramapo Supervisor St. Lawrence owes $27,066 in back taxes--Pattern of being delinquent goes back 5 years and St. Lawrence on Tax Deadbeat rolls again.

But perhaps the most destructive, and most corrupting influence that Christopher St. Lawrence has had on the Town of Ramapo, in our view, concerns the way he has actively encouraged a division in the community that every day socially and economically damages this centuries-old community. Watch the video below, and listen carefully to the language and the emotional appeal he uses, and then draw your own conclusions.

 Click on Image to View Video

If You See It--Tell Somebody
As a final note, we would ask that anyone who sees anything that he or she considers to be corruption relating to how this Supervisor and his administration conduct themselves, please send the details to us at pr.webmaster@gmail.com. We will honor your anonymity and will pass along your information to the proper authorities or we will develop the story ourselves.

Michael Castelluccio