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Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin’s legal defense fund: Many residents refuse to contribute
Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin may have to look to other avenues to pay for her legal fees as some residents aren’t eager to open their wallets for her legal defense fund.
“She ruined Spring Valley,” said village resident Colette Lamar, 42.
“She’s been caught red-handed and she has to face the consequences. It’s outrageous to ask the public for funds," said Lamar, who went as far as calling her legal defense fund a "hoax."
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Jasmin and Deputy Mayor Joseph A. Desmaret are facing federal charges that they took bribes in exchange for approving a certain developer's bid to build a community center on village land.
On Monday, Jasmin sent out a news release asking for funds to be mailed to her home address on West Street to help fight her battle, saying “victory is very costly.”
Rizwan Dar, 35, said that if Jasmin is going to take money from people, she should promise to repay the funds.
“I would not donate my money to Spring Valley or any other mayor that’s been indicted for stealing any kind of money because I don't know if they are going to steal my money,” said village resident Darnell Woffard, 53.
Taxpayer funds already are being used to pay two outside law firms — hired at $200 an hour — to handle federal subpoenas stemming from the probe. The feds are checking village records dating back to the start of Jasmin’s political career. She became a village trustee in 2001 under then-Mayor George Darden.
The village — which adopted a zero percent tax increase budget Tuesday by default — has set aside $250,000 in discretionary funds for the lawyers that will handle requests for records in connection with the corruption probe and serve as counsel for any village employee who may be questioned in the case.
Following a not-guilty plea, Jasmin has resumed her day-to-day duties as mayor, despite calls to step down. Informed sources say that Jasmin -- who has been in office since 2009 -- intends to run again in the fall.
Jasmin did not answer a call seeking comment.