It has been one year since a team of about 40 FBI Agents raided the Town of Ramapo, seizing computers and records, while detaining Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and his closest allies till nearly 3:00 a.m. the following morning.
Permit me to provide a crib-notes refresher to our neighbors in Rockland County about the allegations of corruption in Ramapo’s political circles. The events leading to the FBI raid did not occur in a vacuum. The players involved had plenty of help. My personal discovery came about by way of dedicating time and effort as a volunteer aiding Republican candidates for Supervisor in the Town of Ramapo, 2003 and 2005.
First, a gentleman by the name of Joe Brennan was the GOP candidate that GOP Chairman Mike Dolan and Reda nominated to run against Christopher St. Lawrence. Mysteriously, Mr. Brennan’s petitions prepared by the Ramapo GOP Chairman, Mike Dolan, were so egregiously mishandled that Brennan did not get onto the ballot. St. Lawrence sailed into office completely unopposed.
Second, I witnessed a gentle-lady by the name of Kathy Ellsworth to have been completely abandoned by GOP Chairmen Dolan and Reda. In the course of the experiences that followed, learning about the alarming issues and machinations that accompany Ramapo political players, my eyes began to open along side my sincere concern for my adopted home town.
In 2007, I became the Preserve Ramapo and GOP Candidate for Ramapo Town Supervisor. Immediately, my good name came under attack. Flyers calling me the “Puerto Rican Gang Banger from the Bronx” appeared stuffed in mail boxes and car windshields. Posters written in Yiddish hung in the entrances of Temples, calling me a “NAZI”, “Hitler”, and “friend of Arafat”, who would persecute Jews and toss Jewish families out of their homes into the streets if I were elected.
Preserve Ramapo web-master Mike Castellucio and Chairman Bob Rhodes blasted them in an article which I paraphrase saying: “Poisoning a man’s character is as toxic as arsenic”. Shirtless beach photos of me were mailed to homes throughout Monsey intended to offend the female residents there. $8,000 worth of lawn signs were stolen with the perpetrator being caught on surveillance camera at 4 a.m. riding a bicycle onto the lawn and stealing the signs.
Attempts at fooling the voters were made by duplicating the lawn signs but mis-directing the voters to vote on Row A for my opponent, instead of Row B. The perpetrators were caught in the act and a formal complaint was filed with Ramapo police department. Yet nothing happened.
All the while, we come to find out that GOP Chairman Reda and Dolan were instructing Republicans not to donate money, to remove lawn signs from their properties, not to attend any fund-raisers, and not to support the Ramapo GOP line. When I asked Reda directly, why was he doing this, he told me that he made a deal with the Monsey community to support Senator Moyrihan in trade for Ramapo. Dolan responded that he just does what ever Reda tells him to do.
‘This generated a rift so painful between Preserve Ramapo and the campaign that it remains a problem to this day as was intended. Poll watchers reported multiple improprieties throughout the voting districts, most heavily in Spring Valley and Monsey. At one particular polling station, the sign-in desk was at one side of the gymnasium while the voting booths were at the opposite side.
Meandering in between were literally hundreds of identically dressed voters, passing along the blue voting pass between each other, and voting more than once. The Poll Watchers reported them and called in Sheriff deputies who then called in Senator Moyrihans’ daughter, who was also the Commissioner of Elections. When she arrived, instead of impounding the suspect voting machines, she simply moved the sign in tables to the same side of gymnasium as the voting machines, as it should have been in the first place.
The panic by the GOP and Democrat cohorts was fueled by the polling data, which indicated that I was ahead in the vote. They underestimated our campaign by thinking that we were just put up to be slaughtered and did not stand a chance of winning. Cheating was all they could do by working in tandem to sabotage the campaign at every level. All of the stops were pulled out. Despite their most malicious and malevolent attempts, my campaign pulled the highest number of opposition votes to date – 10,985 votes.
After this achievement, Bobby Romanowski and I produced a talk radio program on WRCR 1300 Radio called the RAMAPO ROUND TABLE. We had a straight run of 52 programs the format of which included calls from the public on the issues of the day; reporting on behind the scenes developments for which we had an abundance of confidential informers within the St. Lawrence administration from both the Democrat and GOP ranks. The “Bobby Report” delivered by Romanowski was one of the most informative, independent reporting heard in Ramapo during this time frame.
Our theme song, BIG YELLOW TAXI, reiterated the lyrics, “they paved paradise to put up a parking lot”, was extremely popular.Our goal was to inform and inspire the voters, as well as putting corrupt politicians on notice that a watchdog group had its eye on them. The station manager was repeatedly harassed to take us off the air. The staple “Steve and Charlie Show” spent the rest of the week trying to marginalize the Ramapo Round Table, which only worked to give us more free air time instead.
In 2009, the Ramapo GOP just outright gave democrat St. Lawrence the GOP line to run him unopposed. The deal was cut between Reda, Dolan and the Democrats. It grew out of sheer panic looking at the new polling data. Stepping up to be the Primary challenger was no other than Bobby Romankowski.The GOP pulled out all the stops to prevent a Republican from running on the Republican line against a Democrat on the Republican line. The challenge went all the way to the Court of Appeals where Romanowski, acting as his own attorney, won the case defeating the GOP and Democrat attorneys aligned against him.
Since 2009 to now, we established the distinctive Rockland Republican Academy, recruited and assembled newly minted Republicans, published scores of articles, inspired challenge, and instilled the emotion of panic in the arrogant. We continue to speak truth to power and challenge them at every level, despite the hateful words and character assassinations they own as stock in trade.In 2012, I spoke to both Reda and Dolan and explained to them why they should retire for the good of the GOP. They declined. I was nominated at the GOP convention for Rockland County GOP Chairman. Reda and Savino, among others violated the rules and possibly election law, clinging to that seat like a Diva with a bad wig on a windy day. They crossed the line from valid to invalid convention when they suspended the By-Laws and simply resorted to cheating. Screaming matches do not trump the secret ballot anywhere in America except at that GOP Convention. So desperate were they to keep me out of that convention, they filed an order of protection against me. It failed. So next they filed a lawsuit to stop all public scrutiny of their conduct. That too failed.Reda and Sparaco insider associate, fellow Clarkstown patronage job appointee, disgraced Bronx GOP Chairman and Sparaco Mother-In-Law defense attorney for her voter fraud conviction, Jay Savino, was arrested, pled guilty and will be sentenced to Federal Prison.
On May 3rd, 2014, by coincidence Ramapo will play host to the Reda ‘pay-for-loyalty’ dinner aka the Lincoln Ball. This is an annual gathering of avowed Reda loyalist and beneficiaries of the Reda GOP patronage employment agency. Many Republicans reportedly will not attend believing that some hoping to stay out of jail in any forthcoming FBI investigation may have a penchant for wearing hidden microphones.
And so we are left with the words of Chestnut Ridge Business owner Ron Miller – “Tony, you and Bobby have been totally vindicated. God Bless you both for all the ‘crap’ you guys took trying to do the right thing.”