Spring Valley trustee Vilair Fonvil and Spring Valley resident Jermika Depas are arraigned in Rockland County Courtroom on April, 25, 2017. Further pool video from courtroom offered by Fios 1 Information.
NEW CITY – Spring Valley Trustee Vilair Fonvil and village contractor Jermika Depas face trial Monday on public corruption charges involving the theft of government money earmarked for summer camp busing.
The trial is scheduled to start before Rockland County Court Judge Kevin Russo with opening statements by prosecutor Richard Kennison Moran and defense attorneys Kevin Dunlap for Fonvil and Samuel Coe for Depas, a village resident hired to transport children to Ramapo camps during the summer of 2016.
Russo will decide the fates of Fonvil and Depas. They waived their rights to a jury trial.
Fonvil, a controversial figure for his public feud with Mayor Demeza Delhomme, would lose his government seat if convicted of any one of the multiple felony charges in the indictment.
The charges against Fonvil and Depas include third-degree grand larceny as a crime of public corruption, third-degree corrupting the government, and money laundering. Fonvil faces an additional charge of receiving reward for official misconduct as a public official.
INDICTMENT: Vilair Fonvil and Jermika Depas
PREVIOUS: Fonvil arrested on corruption charges
EDITORIAL: Spring Valley’s Fonvil must resign
The Board of Trustees, at Fonvil’s urging, authorized paying Depas $24,225 to coordinate busing children to camps. Fonvil is accused of pocketing $10,000 through a scheme in which Depas is accused of playing a role.
The contract, signed by Fonvil, called for Depas to hire six bus monitors to supervise the children. Instead they hired three monitors, prosecutors claim, and Fonvil is accused of paying the monitors in cash, never issuing them W2 forms to record their pay.
Days into the camp program, Fonvil and Depas stopped using the bus company the village had hired as he proposed using buses owned by Spring Valley, according to the charges.
During the final two weeks of camp, Depas used village funds to purchase three bank checks totaling $16,700, prosecutors claim. Two of the checks were issued in the names of two bus monitors and a third was issued in the name of a person not associated with the program.
All three checks were cashed hours later at the same bank where they were purchased, prosecutors charge. More than $10,000 was allegedly given to Fonvil by the people who cashed the checks. In one instance, Fonvil allegedly paid the person $500 to cash the check and give him the rest.
A backdrop was Fonvil’s feud with Delhomme over the camp program. The mayor wanted to continue Spring Valley’s practice of sending children…