Airmont, NY - Ramapo Jewish Councilman Arrested For Misconduct In Zoning Vote
Airmont, NY - Prosecutors say a councilman in a suburban New York town is accused of voting for zoning variances on a property he held a financial stake in.
Ramapo Councilman Samuel Tress found himself under arrest today, facing a felony charge of first-degree offering a false instrument and a misdemeanor count of official misconduct.
According to the Rockland District Attorney’s Office, the charges against Tress stem from his vote in support of a zoning change for a housing development in which he had a financial stake.
As a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, Tress had previously signed an affidavit attesting he would not profit in any way from his post. “With full knowledge and awareness, I affirm that I do not have, I have not engaged in and I will not engage in any activity that would provide a personal or pecuniary gain to myself, my spouse, or my dependents from the activity (activities) in which I now give (or am about to give) my services to the Town of Ramapo or any affiliated or associated board, commission or agency thereof,” Tress wrote.
But prosecutors say that on May 4, 2015, Tress voted to grant eight variances for a single-family house located at 142 Blauvelt Road in which he and his wife have an economic interest. Tress has denied the allegations that he had profited from the variance approval to a Journal News reporter (http://lohud.us/1TbYIiN).
“The documentation will clearly show I didn’t gain financially,” Tress said. “The votes I made had no impact on any financial gain. I’ve seen the information and my attorney and I are awaiting to get all the documentation.”
The Councilman served as a zoning board member for many years before being elected to the Ramapo Town Board in November, defeating incumbent Councilman Daniel Friedman in the September primary.
Tress is no stranger to controversy. Earlier reports in The Journal News revealed prior to his election that he was in fact a resident of Lakewood, New Jersey and also had a federal mail-fraud conviction.
Initially, Tress said he rented a Monsey apartment, but later clarified, “I’m not denying that I live in New Jersey, but I am most of the week in Monsey.”
The investigation leading to Tress’ arrest was carried out by the Public Corruption Task Force, which includes the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and the Rockland District Attorney’s Office.
More of today's headlines“New York - If Mitt Romney wanted to ignite a debate about Donald Trump's suitability for the White House, he succeeded, at least on social media. Romney, the 2012...” New York - Romney Ignites Social Media With Anti-Trump Comments “Washington - President Barack Obama said on Thursday he plans to remain in Washington after his term in office ends in January so that his youngest daughter can finish...” Washington - Obama Says He Will Stay In Washington After He Leaves White House