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January 6, 2010

Forest City Ratner, unnamed/unindicted, cited as giving indicted man consulting job after he got Yonkers Council Member to change vote on Ridge Hill

Atlantic Yards Report

A federal investigation of corruption in Yonkers has led to three indictments in connection with two real estate projects, one of them Forest City Ratner's Ridge Hill.

And while Forest City Ratner is neither named nor indicted, the investigation is ongoing and, at least as presented by federal prosecutors, the developer's conduct seems suspect. (An indictment, of course, is an allegation based on evidence, not a conviction.)

Contract in exchange for influence to change vote

FCR is cited as agreeing to provide Zehy Jereis, the former head of the Yonkers Republican Party, a $60,000 consulting contract after he got Yonkers City Council Member Sandy Annabi once a fierce opponent of the Ridge Hill project, to change her vote.

She once said that Forest City Ratner was “probably richer than God” and was “robbing the city blind,” and served as the lead plaintiff in a 2005 lawsuit objecting to the city's approval process--but then did an about-face a year later.

According to prosecutors, the sequence of events that included the changed vote mean Annabi, the former Democratic Majority Leader of the Yonkers City Council, has been charged with conspiracy, bribery, extortion, false statements, and tax crimes. Also, Jereis, the former head of the Yonkers Republican Party, and Anthony Mangone, a Westchester County attorney, were charged with conspiracy, bribery, and extortion.

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NoLandGrab: Surely, no such shenanigans might have taken place with Forest City's Atlantic Yards project. Right?

Posted by eric at January 6, 2010 2:09 PM