“Opera is when someone gets stabbed in the back and, instead of bleeding, they sing.” ― Robert Benchley
My name is Jim Flynn and I have followed the story of Ramapo vs Melissa Reimer for the past few months. Miss Reimer is a Finance Supervisor in the Town of Ramapo who was accused of misconduct for attempting to correct payroll errors for a Ramapo Police Officer.
Miss Reimer had also been complaining/objecting to how finances were being manipulated for the scandal ridden Limited Development Corporation headed by Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence. During the period the Disciplinary hearing was being held by Judge William Sherwood on the the original charges several things occurred.
May 16th - The FBI raided Town Hall seizing tons of documents regarding the LDC and other areas.
June 5th - Miss Reimer suspended with pay.
June 17th - The State Comptrollers office placed Ramapo second on its list most Financially Stressed Towns.
June 18th – Supervisor Chris St Lawrence and team blame Miss Remeir for the State Comptrollers action .
June 28th - Miss Reimer was suspended without pay. New charges filed.
July 13th – New hearing officer resigns after it is discovered by defense he was a financial supporter of Supervisor St Lawrence.
August 1 – ACT 1 - First hearing held by Jonas Gelb Hearing Officer 2nd set of charges
August 12 – ACT 2 - Second hearing held by Jonas Gelb Hearing Officer
The second act of this comedy was wonderful, the defense attorney Fred Lichtmacher (who could easily replace Danny DeVito in any of his roles) had a magnificent performance.
Michael Specht (Prosecuting Attorney) appeared to be on a fishing expedition to find out who, what, and when Miss Reimer had taped. It appeared to many that the whole purpose of the charges to obtain copies of said tapes. At this point we the audience felt like we were transported to a Marx Brothers production of 'A Night at the Opera'.
The room was cleared as the Hearing Officer and lawyers discussed who had possession of the tapes and why they could not be produced - 'hint', 'hint' - it appeared obvious to all that they were with the FBI.
Then we waited for the door to be opened as the lock had jammed. Every time the hearing took a five minute break, Mr. Specht would disappear for 20-25 minutes. The only evidence that was really obtained is that Miss Reimer freely admits that when Linda Condan asked Miss Reimer to come into her office and wait for Town Attorney Berman so Miss Condon could give her "something", she declined. Apparently Miss Reimer directed Miss Condon to give the item to her attorney as Mr. Lichtmacher had previously instructed the Town Attorneys.
At this time it would appear that whomsoever has the tapes (FBI?) has tapes that go back 18 months and most of the tapes cover conversations with the leadership of Ramapo regarding questionable financial practices.
I would like to thank Miss Reimer for the foresight and courage she has shown in standing up for herself and the people of Ramapo and for bringing this situation into the light of day. I wish her well in her $2 million dollar defamation lawsuit against the Town of Ramapo and its 'leaders'. I guess it is only dreaming to hope for a judge and jury to find that the guilty parties acted outside the scope of their duties and hold them personally responsible for the damages and not the Ramapo Taxpayers.
Now other employees of towns in Rockland will realize the need for tapes or notes of conversations to protect themselves when the similar house of cards in other towns comes tumbling down.
The next act of this Ramapo 'Comic Opera' is scheduled to be performed on Tuesday, August 27th at 10 a.m. in the Ramapo Town Hall.
I urge all to attend - there is no cover charge.
This guest article was written by Jim Flynn who resides in Nanuet. Jim has contributed to numerous previous articles on this blog. Michael N. Hull, author of this blog, is a retired senior citizen who writes opinion pieces on local political issues. He is a Director of Clarkstown Residents Opposing Patronage with Tom Nimick and Ralph Sabatini. Hull contributes periodically to the Facebook page Clarkstown: What They Don't Want You To Know.