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Crime East Ramapo trustee Bernard Charles pleads guilty in fake town rental case, will quit school board

11:56  07 february  2020
11:56  07 february  2020 Source:   lohud.com

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Anderson replaces East Ramapo trustee Bernard Charles , who resigned from the school board as part of a plea deal after he was accused of swindling. Bernard Charles blasted Ramapo officials in a printed statement as his wife, Ramapo Deputy Supervisor Brendel Logan- Charles , stood by his side.

East Ramapo trustee Bernard Charles pleads guilty in fake town rental case , will quit school board . East Ramapo trustee Bernard Charles charged with grand larceny in scheme to rent out town facility and pocket fee.

HAVERSTRAW – East Ramapo school board member Bernard Charles, accused of pretending to be a Ramapo town official, renting out the town's Cultural Arts Center and pocketing the $1,100 fee, pleaded guilty today to misdemeanor petty larceny as part of a plea deal with the Rockland District Attorney's Office.

a man standing on the side of a road: Bernard Charles arrives at Haverstraw town court on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2019.© Nancy Cutler/The Journal News Bernard Charles arrives at Haverstraw town court on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2019.

Charles also will pay back the town of Ramapo $1,100 and will resign from the East Ramapo school board. He will also be on probation for two years.

Charles is accused of renting out the Town of Ramapo's Cultural Arts Center, located in downtown Spring Valley, even though he was no longer a town employee and had no permission. He is accused of pocketing a fee he collected to use the old theater.

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Charles and his spouse, Ramapo Town Deputy Supervisor Brendel Logan-Charles, left court together. Charles offered a printed prepared statement.

In it, he accused Town of Ramapo leaders, including members of the Ramapo Town Board, of continuously stopping people of color from using the Cultural Arts Center.

READ IT: Bernard Charles hands out a press release after court

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He said of members of Ramapo Town Board and Parks and Recreation Department: "They want retail businesses and a yeshiva or synagogue from their community to replace my communities programs," he wrote in all capital letters. "Just as other black men before me who have become targets for standing in the way of the progressive movement by the town."

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He also said he believed he had been targeted.

Logan-Charles has long been a member of the Town Board in Ramapo. She said on Thursday that she would remain on the Town Board and that the accusations against her spouse were "all a lie."

Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht declined to comment.

East Ramapo school district clerk Kathy Kiri had not returned a call for comment.

Charles was originally charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony, and second-degree criminal impersonation, a misdemeanor, but pleaded guilty to petty larceny in a plea agreement.

"Mr. Charles had an unblemished lifetime career of public service," Kevin Conway, Charles' attorney, said after the court appearance that lasted less than 20 minutes. "He did not want to put his family through a lengthy trial proceeding."

In his statement, Charles said he thought "long and hard about the decision not to pursue this through the legal system here in Rockland County" but agreed to a plea deal "because quite frankly I don't believe that I would receive a fair trial."

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Heinel has pleaded not guilty . Janke, who is pleading guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge and cooperating with the probe, could Gary Polakovic, a spokesman for USC, didn’t have an immediate comment on the new pleas or any other parents who sought to get their children into the school .

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Although the reported incident occurred in Spring Valley, the case was referred to Haverstraw Town Court after Spring Valley village justices recused themselves.

The incident occurred at the Cultural Arts Center on Main Street between July 12, 2019, and Oct. 30, 2019, according to court documents. Charles, 65, had held a string of jobs for the Town of Ramapo and Village of Spring Valley. He was let go by the town in 2018.

Police said that Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht told them that Charles lacked authority and permission to rent out the theater when the reported incident occurred. When he was employed by the town, he had managed bookings at the Cultural Arts Center.

According to court documents, Charles "falsely expressed with his words and actions that he was a public servant and was acting with the approval and authority" of the town.

Charles has attended two out of three school board meetings since his Dec. 27 arrest.

Staff writer Steve Lieberman contributed to this report.

Twitter: @nancyrockland

This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: East Ramapo trustee Bernard Charles pleads guilty in fake town rental case, will quit school board

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usr: 1
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