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March 12, 2007

Yonkers officials say subpoena won't stop Ridge Hill project

The Journal News
By Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, Michael Gannon and Bruce Golding

A federal probe into the City Council's handling of the $600 million Ridge Hill development won't slow the project down, city officials and Ridge Hill's builder maintained.
Officials at Forest City Ratner, the Brooklyn-based developer scheduled to break ground on the project in the spring, agreed and said they didn't even know about the subpoena until The Journal News told them Wednesday.

"We know that everything we did to advance Ridge Hill Village was done properly and legally and are not worried about what any investigation might turn up," said Loren Riegelhaupt, a spokesman for Forest City Ratner.

But though no direct link to the project has been suggested, a source close to the investigation told The Journal News that the council's actions relating to it are at least part of the federal probe.

The description of the project will sound familiar to Brooklynites:

Ridge Hill Village would essentially create a mini-city between the New York State Thruway and the Sprain Brook Parkway.


NoLandGrab: Forest City Ratner's claim that everything was done "properly and legally" has already been disproven. The hiring of the former mayor's 20-something brother-in-law at a six-figure salary for the development corporation was quite improper — after this was revealed to a jaded public, the lucky youngster ended up on Forest City Ratner's payroll (link), which is neither illegal, nor technically improper — it just doesn't pass the smell test.

Then there was the matter of the City Council bending its own rules in order to approve the plan (link), which certainly sounds improper and was deemed illegal by the courts. The legislative body was forced to backtrack and do things the right way.

The Feds might be learning what many Brooklynites already know: that when you turn over a rock belonging to Forest City Ratner, interesting things crawl out.

Posted by lumi at March 12, 2007 8:38 AM