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March 2, 2012

Yonkers corruption trial focuses on the Longfellow project: a compromised witness with a gambling problem, some Spano mentions, and favors for another state Senator

Atlantic Yards Report

The Yonkers corruption trial continued yesterday in federal court with a focus on the second project, Milio Management's Longfellow, rather than Forest City Ratner's Ridge Hill.

Unlike with Ridge Hill, prosecutors had a witness, Anthony Mangone, who claimed direct knowledge of payments to defendant Zehy Jereis, former Yonkers Republican Chairman, intended to influence defendant Sandy Annabi, then City Council Member, to greenlight the project. But that witness, given his criminal record, gambling habit, and admitted perjury, was vulnerable to defense attorneys.

Mangone, the third defendant indicted with Jereis and Annabi in early 2010, has already pleaded guilty to tax fraud and conspiracy charges, and is cooperating in an effort to reduce his prison sentence. And Mangone's testimony also implicated past acts, unrelated to this trial, by his political mentor Yonkers powerbroker Nick Spano, a former state Senator turned lobbyist, who recently pleaded guilty to tax charges.

Nick Spano is part of a local political dynasty that includes his brother Mike Spano, a former Assemblyman who worked as a lobbyist for Forest City Ratner on the Ridge Hill case, now serves as Yonkers mayor, and testified briefly in the trial last week.

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Posted by eric at March 2, 2012 11:23 AM