Alternative New Media for the Gulf South
Nine minutes into the Council meeting, glad I’m watching at home … going to get me some
There is a story in the Saturday Sunday Wall Street Journal in the opinion section with the headline “A Town’s ‘Creative Accounting’ Leads to a Fraud Conviction. Either the paper in hand with your drink of choice or an online subscription is required to obtain the complete story.
The article begins “For years, local governments have had little to fear from using dubious accounting practices to shore up their finances on paper. Sure, critics could scream: In 2015 Paul Volker, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve, sounded the alarm about states and cities that used slippery accounting to “obscure their true financial position, shift current costs onto future generations, and push off the need to make hard choices.” But rarely have officials been made to answer for their deception.
Until now. “
Readers reacted with a sense of relief at the conviction of Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud by a federal jury last week.
The indictment charged that St. Lawrence concealed the town’s financial problems to finance the town’s baseball stadium and other projects.
“Now the Town Board needs to pass a resolution to remove all St. Lawrence names from all places and buildings,” wrote Kevin Fitzgerald on lohud.com. “What I never heard is the negative impact this jerk had on the taxpayers. Shame on him and thanks to the Fed’s for getting it done!” http://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/2017/05/25/st-lawrence-convicted-but-ramapo-residents-saddled-payments/343751001/
As of August 2015, Ramapo had more than $128 million in outstanding bonds that had been issued for municipal purposes, while the Ramapo Local Development Corporation had issued $25 million in bonds to pay for the construction of a baseball stadium in Ramapo.
Many commenters on lohud also expressed their lack of faith in the remaining members of the Town Board.
“The town board needs to go. They are just as complicit and guilty,” wrote Lisa House Cornell.
Commenter Robert Rhodes agreed.
“Unfortunately, we have to remember that NO ONE on this town board ever challenged ANY of his decisions. They just made believe that they had no idea what was going on and that was good enough to protect them from indictment,” wrote Rhodes. “Now one of these cowardly stooges will replace him.”
As always, the backstop is the taxpayers pocket, so the bondholders will be fully paid.
I’ll also point anyone with access to the full story to the paragraph which includes both the recorded reference to the convicted town supervisor telling town employees to ‘cook the books’: that to make the numbers work “we’re going to have to all be magicians” and the bogus recorded sale of town owned land (which was protected rattlesnake habitat) for several million.
It seems to me the honest tax payers of the Bay and Hancock County need an organized group like the Snake Nation and The Friends of the Harbor that were well funded and well organized. Most were retirees that spent a lot of time in the county courthouse searching the public records. Searched other city and legal records. Did the Rat Pickerings work for him. It was these honest citizen warriors that brought to light what the elected officials were so desperately keeping secrete. Bay St. Louis deserves better.
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