Update: Former City Parks and Recreation Commissioner Charged

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(Update – April 17) – Former City Parks and Recreation Commissioner Lazarus Sims has been charged with taking property from the city recreation department.

According to reports, Sims recently appeared in court recently, and has been charged with taking items worth $3,000 from the city.

He’s scheduled to reappear in court on May 7.

In March, Mayor Ben Walsh placed Sims on administrative leave, pending the completion of an audit into the department’s finances by City Auditor Marty Masterpole.

Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens has been managing the department on an interim basis, and Deputy Commissioner Julie LaFave is responsible for the daily operations of the department. 

Mayor Walsh released the following statement regarding the matter:

“I’m saddened for the city and for Commissioner Sims. Lazarus has done a lot of good for Syracuse and, in particular, for young people in the city. We will review the charges while we work with legal counsel to determine the appropriate next step in light of this development.

 Sims, a former Syracuse University basketball player, has not yet commented on the charge.

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(From March 27) – Syracuse Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Lazarus Sims has been placed on administrative leave, pending the completion of an audit into the department’s finances by City Auditor Marty Masterpole.

Masterpole had previously shared concerns about the city’s draft audit of the department with Mayor Ben Walsh’s office, as well as the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office.

According to the Walsh administration, Sims has been suspended pending the final review of the audit, as well as the outcome of the investigation by the DA’s office.

Currently, Deputy Commissioner Julie LaFave is responsible for the daily operations of the department, and Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens will manage the department on an interim basis, going forward.

Sims, a former Syracuse University basketball player, has not yet commented on the matter.

Former Mayor Stephanie Miner appointed Sims to the position in 2015, and, prior to the findings of the draft audit, Mayor Walsh decided to keep Sims in the position.

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