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January 6, 2010

Update: FCR says it's not a target

Norman Oder has amended his earlier post on federal indictments connected to Forest City Ratner's Ridge Hill project with the following:

Update: FCR says it's not a target

"Forest City Ratner Companies has cooperated fully with the U.S. Attorney's Office during the course of its investigation and will continue to do so. In addition, Forest City has been advised by the U.S. Attorney's Office that neither the company nor any of its employees is a target of the investigation," said Ed Tagliaferri, Senior VP, Dan Klores Communications, in a statement.

Note that the U.S. Attorney's Office would not comment when I earlier asked the same question. After I received the statement from Tagliaferri, I asked the U.S. Attorney's Office to confirm that "neither the company nor any of its employees is a target," and was told there was no comment.

NoLandGrab: What, FCR worry? Let's keep in mind that the U.S. Attorney alleges that Forest City promised and then delivered a consulting contract to the guy who bribed a Yonkers Councilmember to change her vote and approve their project.

More coverage...

NY Observer, Corruption Charges in Yonkers Development May Have Links to Forest City Ratner

A former City Council member in Yonkers and two others were indicted Wednesday on charges of corruption in a case that may have links with Brooklyn development firm Forest City Ratner. The investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office centers around Yonkers Councilwoman Sandy Annabi, and two individuals who allegedly helped convince her to sell her votes on two development projects: Zehy Jeries, former head of the Yonkers Republican Party, and Anthony Mangone, an attorney.

One of those projects' developers appears to be Forest City Ratner, in connection with its planned Ridge Hill mixed-use project. Forest City was not named directly or charged in the indictment, with the papers referring only to "Developer No. 2" as the developer of Ridge Hill.

The indictment alleges that Developer No. 2 gave Mr. Jeries a consulting contract worth $60,000 in exchange for swinging Ms. Annabi to vote for the project. Ms. Annabi previously had been opposed to the project, though ultimately voted in its favor, after Forest City agreed to numerous concessions including paying more property taxes. Mr. Jeries also is charged with giving Ms. Annabi a $70,000 loan and more than $50,000 in other financial benefits from 2004 to 2008. (Ms. Annabi and Mr. Jeries are cousins.)

Runnin' Scared, Pol Charged With Corruption in Ratner (Atlantic Yards) Project in Yonkers

Forest City Ratner, currently trying to ram Atlantic Yards down Brooklyn's throat, is unnamed and unindicted and unmentioned even in the U.S. Attorney's official statement. But the case centers on its controversial Ridge Hill development. (Indictment here; "Developer No. 2" is Forest City Ratner.)

All suspects are innocent until they're proven guilty or unless they somehow wriggle off the hook. Except for the New Jersey Nets, the condemned property owned by Bruce Ratner. The NBA team is currently 3-31, and not even eminent domain can save it.

Posted by eric at January 6, 2010 4:53 PM