Ramapo Runaround

RhodesTo: Editor Rockland Voice
From:  Robert Rhodes, Chairman of Preserve Ramapo

The Ramapo runaround is alive and well down at Ramapo town hall. What is going on now is a repetition of what we went through before the ward referendum.

If you go down to town hall to speak with town clerk Chris Sampson he is never available. “Chris is not in the office.” “We think he is at a meeting.” “He is in the building, but we don’t know where.” “We think he is at a meeting outside of the building.”

According to a comment from his own assistant clerk my recent FOIL is in the pile with the FOILs submitted by Mike Parietti, Robert Romanowski, and Deborah Munitz.

This morning I hit pay dirt. When I called around 9:30 I was told he was in his office. I held on to the phone for a good half minute while, I presume, he either turned on his tape machine, or, more likely, put town attorney Michael Klein on to listen in.

I asked Chris why we hadn’t been told that the Board of Elections had made images of the envelopes of all absentee and affidavit ballots and I asked him what he was going to do with these images. He explained that they were creating a database.

I reminded him that he has not responded to our FOILs. His response was that he does respond but that if the information is not available he can’t provide the information requested. I reminded him that we have a vote count in just four days and we still don’t know the procedures that will be followed. This request was first made by Deborah Munitz a month ago. He assured me that we would be able to participate. When I pressed him for more information he responded with what is for him a standard kind of joke, “well of course if you want hundreds of people in the room it isn’t going to happen..” Then I heard the standard excuse that he couldn’t give me more information since the procedures have not yet been established!

At about this point I told him that we do not trust him and reminded him that of the 2500 affidavit ballots that appeared all of a sudden at the end of the evening of the referendum. Chris replied that he had nothing to do with those ballots. Perhaps he was unaware that Mona Montal, the Director of Purchasing, had commandeered Ramapo’s high speed copy machine to add to the 2500 affidavit ballots that had already been printed by the BOE.

I asked him if he was aware of the Okeefe rule and he said he was. The Okeefe rule requires that when an absentee or affidavit ballot is removed from the envelope a copy is supposed to be made and the original resealed in the envelop for a possible later challenge.

On the day of the referendum Chris disappeared for a few hours to play golf at a charity event at the Ramapo golf course. Was this just a convenient excuse to provide him with an alibi while Mona ran the referendum from town hall?

This is the same Mona who raised, or tried to raise, a total of $170,000 from builders, landlords and developers to defeat the referendum. She was joined by Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence who managed to come up with $20,000 as his contribution to the effort.

In any event I concluded our brief conversation with the suggestion that we would be seeing him once again in court.

Chris is probably only the front man, but as I reminded him, he is the town clerk, and he is supposed to supervise town elections.


Robert I. Rhodes

Chairman, Preserve Ramapo

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