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February 13, 2012

The mystery of Ridge Hill: as Yonkers corruption case heads for trial, what will we learn about Forest City Ratner, its lobbyists, and Bruce Bender?

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder previews a trial in which the name Forest City Ratner is sure to pop up.

A complicated corruption case involving two real estate development projects in Yonkers goes to trial in federal court in Manhattan tomorrow, February 14, and could last a month.

The results should illuminate the dubiously ethical behavior of Forest City Ratner, which gained a huge benefit for its still-in-process Ridge Hill project, but emerged officially unscathed.

One of the three defendants, Anthony Mangone, has already pleaded guilty to giving bribes, resolving some but not all questions about a different real estate project, known as Longfellow.

However, numerous questions linger, mostly about Ridge Hill, an 81-acre project east of the New York State Thruway that includes a giant mall and condos, plus perhaps office space and a hotel.

The largest development in Yonkers history, the cost is estimated at nearly $700 million, a vast change from the site's previous use as a center for drug treatment and defense contracting R&D.

Ridge Hill was enormously controversial, given Forest City Ratner’s request for special zoning and other benefits, the creation of a shadowy (slammed by the Times and now defunct) development corporation, and traffic concerns.

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Posted by eric at February 13, 2012 11:54 AM