When several town officials pursued the construction of a multimillion-dollar baseball stadium against the wishes of the majority of voters, they touted it as an economic boon that would draw tourists from throughout the region.But the stadium, home to the Rockland Boulders, opened its third season Thursday under a cloud of financial scrutiny and a surprise FBI-led raid on Town Hall during which agents seized paper and computer records.The records include documents involving the financing and construction of the stadium, which was supported by a $25 million bond guaranteed by Ramapo and its taxpayers. One element of the probe focuses on documents outlining the sale of bonds for the project.The investigators are reviewing documents to determine whether Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence overstated assets, such as incoming revenue, for the bonds and refinancing of the $25 million bond. They also are looking into the movement of money among accounts, possible commingling of funds and whether the Local Development Corp. that oversaw the project generated money and repaid the town, a source familiar with the probe said.
The town bought the 61-acre property in 2009, but turned it over to the LDC in 2010, three months after voters overwhelmingly defeated the stadium plan in a town referendum. However, taxpayers were still on the hook for the $8.4 million debt from the purchase of the property, while the town also spent $27 million for improvements to the property that it no longer owned — a $35.4 million liability for Ramapo taxpayers.
Ramapo officials plan to use revenue generated during the baseball season and from concerts and other events planned at the stadium to repay the bond, plus $2.5 million in interest and a number of unanticipated construction expenses. Additional revenue from the sale of apartments at Ramapo Commons, a housing development also funded by the Local Development Corp., or LDC, is intended to help pay off the project.
Compare the Ramapo scheme to our own scheme that cost $24 million dollars that could have been used to help revitalize our town and offset tax costs, instead bringing us a payment of $25 thousand dollars a YEAR!
Now we will continue to pay the maintenance on this money losing scam. Hopefully the FBI is not too busy with all their other projects and will look into our matter soon.