Wayne Ballard, a former employee of the village of Spring Valley accused of deliberately filling false information with the village, was cleared of all charges on Thursday when Judge Kevin Russo dismissed the case against him.
Ballard was charged in connection to the 2021 Evergreen Court fire, which destroyed an assisted living facility in Spring Valley and claimed the lives of 79-year-old resident Oliver Hueston and 35-year-old volunteer firefighter Jared Lloyd. Ballard was accused of knowingly providing false information in an all-encompassing state report on the village department’s inspections in 2019, which included the status of the Evergreen Home.
Judge Russo ruled that county prosecutors Assistant District Attorney Ryan Sweeney and Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael Dugandzic, were unable to provide sufficient evidence that the former inspector intentionally falsified that report.
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas E. Walsh II released the following statement in response to the ruling: “We are saddened and disappointed by Judge Russo’s decision. The People believe that sufficient evidence was presented to establish the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Judge Russo disagreed and we will comply with the decision. Our office will continue to protect the interests of the people of Rockland and demand that all governmental agencies be managed in compliance with the law.”
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