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April 10, 2010

Overstated allegation that Yonkers pol was indicted for "accepting a bribe from Ratner" subject of heated exchange among lawyers in remaining AY case

Atlantic Yards Report

Attorneys for the ESDC fulfill their role as the tool of developer Bruce Ratner when they become sensitive to an allegation that Ratner offered a bribe.

Forest City Ratner's murky role in the controversial Ridge Hill corruption case--mentioned indirectly but not implicated--has become the subject of some heated exchanges between lawyers on opposite sides of the only Atlantic Yards case that remains to face an initial hearing.

Williams vs. New York State Urban Development Corporation (aka Empire State Development Corporation, or ESDC) goes to court Monday.

It's not likely that Ridge Hill will come up--the larger issue is whether the Development Agreement, not unveiled until January, should trigger new Determination & Findings (D&F) needed to pursue eminent domain.

But Ridge Hill hangs like a cloud over the developer, even though a lawyer for property owners challenging the state overstates what has been alleged.

...

What actually happened is murky, but the indictment does not charge Annabi with "accepting a bribe from Ratner." It lays out a sequence in which Annabi is charged with accepting corrupt payments from Zehy Jereis, who got a no-show job from Forest City Ratner.

As I wrote, the role of the developer is questionable, making it dubious that the ESDC considers the developer a "good corporate citizen." It's unclear why the developer was not considered a target by prosecutors, or why Forest City thinks it has a clean bill of health.

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Posted by steve at April 10, 2010 9:00 AM