Baseball-Stadium Fraud Case Triggers Downgrade to New York Town

Ramapo, New York’s credit rating was cut by Moody’s Investors Service as the town copes with the fallout from a baseball-stadium project that led to unprecedented criminal fraud charges against local officials.

Moody’s lowered $146 million of Ramapo bonds two levels to A3, the fourth-lowest investment grade, and said it has a “developing” outlook on the rating, indicating it could change if warranted by new disclosures.

The U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission last month charged two town officials with lying about Ramapo’s finances for years, partly to hide the extent of losses incurred from financing the construction of a $58 million ballpark.

Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, its highest-ranking elected official, and Aaron Troodler, the former executive director of Ramapo Local Development Corp., both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Moody’s downgrade "reflects the degree of increased risk stemming from the charges brought by the U.S. Justice Department and the SEC, which have resulted in near-term disruption in management and a likely delay in financial reporting and disclosure," the company said.

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