Opening arguments for Spring Valley Trustee Vilair Fonvil corruption trial on the Rockland County Courthouse. Ricky Flores/lohud

NEW CITY –  The village’s 2016 summer time busing contract and the hostile relationship between Trustee Vilair Fonvil-led board majority and Mayor Demeza Delhomme turned the main target of the protection towards fees that Fonvil and village busing contractor Jermika Depas conspired to steal village cash.

Earlier than the testimony continued, Rockland County Courtroom Decide Kevin Russo at this time denied a request to dismiss felony fees towards Fonvil and Depas, after their legal professionals argued the prosecution failed to offer enough proof that their shoppers conspired to steal $eleven,000 from a day camp busing program.

The felony fees towards Fonvil and Depas embrace third-diploma grand larceny as a criminal offense of public corruption, third-diploma corrupting the federal government, and cash laundering. Fonvil faces a further cost of receiving reward for official misconduct as a public official.

Russo allowed testimony to proceed, saying he might rethink his choice after listening to all of the proof.

Testifying for the protection Monday morning was village treasurer Kuruvilla Cherian, particular counsel Dennis Lynch, and Trustee Asher Grossman, a political ally on the board with Fonvil.

Lynch informed Russo that the busing contract Fonvil put collectively was “not arfully executed” and anticipated hiring six bus screens as a part of the general $24,225 value, together with Depas’s wage.

Prosecutor Richard Kennison Moran has informed the decide Fonvil and Depas employed two screens and removed the personal bus firm for the youngsters and used village automobiles, which got here at no cost. Moran argued the duo created an $eight,000 surplus.

Moran, an government assistant district lawyer overseeing the anti-corruption unit with the FBI, advised Russo the examine-cashing enabled a cash-laundering operation by Fonvil to pocket an estimated $eleven,000 he received from the Board of Trustees to bus village youngsters to summer time camps. Depas was employed to run the operation.

Lynch additionally informed the decide that the village was required to get W-2 types and different documentation from staff. Moran has argued Fonvil paid the drivers and screens in money.

Lynch stated the regulation requires elected officers to declare any conflicts of pursuits underneath the village ethics code and federal necessities. Moran has stated Fonvil had loaned Depas cash, a monetary relationship he did not declare in writing and stored hidden from the board. 

Lynch, who has represented most Rockland governments over three many years, stated Spring Valley operated in a different way when it got here to conducting enterprise. Most governments watch for work to get finished earlier than making funds. 

“Spring Valley is exclusive,” Lynch stated. “Numerous issues do not get executed…