Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence Get Trial Date on Corruption Charges

A federal judge on Thursday set a Jan. 9 trial date in the corruption case against Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and former town lawyer Aaron Troodler.

Prosecutors estimated they would need to call more than 30 witnesses and the trial could take four to five weeks to complete.

Attorneys for St. Lawrence and Troodler didn’t comment on those estimates.

U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel gave the defense team until Sept. 12 to file any motions and the prosecution until Sept. 25 to respond.

Prosecutors estimated there more than 350,000 documents and more than 1.5 million pages, as well as hours of audio recordings. The recordings involve the supervisor and other town officials and employees.

“There’s a ton of paper to review,” said Patrick Burke, a former federal prosecutor and one of the two lawyers representing St. Lawrence, said before the hearing. His son Michael, is the lead attorney for St. Lawrence. “We’re going to need more time.”

Burke asked Seibel for another three months to review the prosecutor’s mounds of paper evidences, including relevant documents from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC is mounting a separate civil case against St. Lawrence, Troodler, Ramapo Town Attorney Michael Klein and Nat Oberman, the town deputy finance director and receiver of taxes.

Troodler’s attorney, Joseph Poluka also asked for “a little time to get our hands dirty with the documents.

Seibel, a former federal prosecutor, said she wanted to press forward and not slow-track the case. While she said she understood the amount of pages could be daunting and a lot of “person-power” will be required, “We also know we don’t have to read every single page,” she told the lawyers.

“I don’t think you need 90 days. You can have a bank record with 1,000 pages but only two pages make a difference in the case.”

St. Lawrence, the town’s 16-year supervisor, and Troodler face charges of securities and wire fraud and conspiracy involving the financing of the town’s baseball stadium and other projects developed through the town’s Ramapo Development Corp. Troodler served as executive director of the Local Development Corporation (LDC), while St. Lawrence chaired the quasi-government agency.

The indictment accuses them of allegedly selling $150 million in municipal bonds based on fabricated town financial documents that overstated the town’s revenues to potentially get a better interest rate on the loans.

The SEC case mirrors the federal charges, but the penalties are financial.

St. Lawrence, a Wesley Hills resident and son of the late Assemblyman Joseph St. Lawrence, and Troodler, 42, now of Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, were arrested in May.

The investigation became public in May 2013 when the District Attorney’s Office detectives and the FBI raided Ramapo Town Hall, carting off boxes of documents and computer hard drives.

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