Jury selection began on Wednesday in the federal fraud trial of Christopher St. Lawrence, the supervisor of the heavily Jewish New York State town of Ramapo.
Ramapo, in New York City’s northern suburbs, includes the Orthodox-dominated villages of New Square, Monsey, Airmont and Kaser. It also includes the troubled East Ramapo School district, where Orthodox and non-Jewish residents have struggled for control.
Prosecutors are charging St. Lawrence with misrepresenting the town’s finances in municipal bond offerings, in part to conceal the damage that the construction of a baseball stadium had done to the town’s finances.
St. Lawrence’s co-defendant, Aaron Troodler, the former executive director of a local development group, pleaded guilty last month.
In court, attorneys barraged potential jurors with questions, according to a report in the Journal News.
Among other things, jurors are being asked whether they have had “previous issues with the Securities and Exchange Commission,” according to the paper.
Despite the charges, St. Lawrence has yet to resign his post.