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February 17, 2012

Ridge Hill trial opens, but mystery persists regarding Forest City Ratner's role in compensating accused consultant who paid accused Council Member

Atlantic Yards Report

According to the opening statements yesterday by defense lawyers in a federal corruption trial, there are explanations for why Yonkers Council Member Sandy Annabi was given money by her distant cousin, Yonkers Republican Party Chair Zehy Jereis, and why she changed her vote to enable Forest City Ratner's Ridge Hill development.

Jereis was infatuated with her, and Annabi believed that changes in the Ridge Hill project--retail, residential, and more--finally made it worthwhile.

The question is whether those arguments--presaged in pretrial papers--is whether they add up. After all, Annabi has denied the romantic relationship purported (or perhaps merely pursued) by Jereis. And, as previously reported, those changes in Ridge Hill were small beer.

Defense lawyers went after the go-between regarding the second project, Longfellow, Anthony Mangone, who already pleaded guilty to funneling cash to Jereis to pay off Annabi.

The question is whether and how they will go after Forest City, three of whose former staffers are expected to be mentioned or to testify in the trial, which is expected to resume Tuesday.

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Related coverage...

The New York Times, Prosecutor Tells How Ex-Yonkers Councilwoman Got Secret Payments

“Jereis made these secret payments to Annabi to influence and control her official conduct, so that he could in turn sell his control over Annabi to the highest bidder,” said the prosecutor, Jason P. W. Halperin.

Mr. Jereis repeatedly asked representatives of Forest City Ratner to hire him as a consultant, the prosecutor added, and Forest City Ratner ultimately gave him a $60,000 consulting contract after Ms. Annabi voted in favor of the Ridge Hill project.

True News, Criminal Lobbyists Who Win Approval or Obtain Government $$$ for His Projects

While the Feds says Forest City Ratner company has not broken the law, they say the lobbyists hired to get government favors have. If you believe that Ratner who won $750 million for his Atlantic Terminal Nets Stadium project in Brooklyn did not know what his lobbyists were doing you should apply for a job as a reporter in New York.

Deep Throat Said Follow the Money, So Why is Nobody Following Where Ratner's Lobbyist Got Their Bribe $$$ . . . Maybe They Donated It?

Posted by eric at February 17, 2012 11:10 AM