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May 16, 2012

Why was Forest City Ratner not touched in the Yonkers case? Law prof suggests prosecutorial discretion regarding a potential conspiracy charge that would've been tough to win

Atlantic Yards Report

Some keeping watch on the recent Yonkers corruption trial, in which former Council Member Sandy Annabi and her political mentor, Zehy Jereis, were convicted, had to wonder why developer Forest City Ratner, the beneficiary of Annabi's vote flip to enable its huge Ridge Hill retail/residential project, went unscathed.

After all, while Annabi got nearly $200,000 from Jereis over eight years, and he got a far smaller sum from the two developers he worked with, Forest City's gain, in exchange for a no-show job it gave Jereis after the vote, was surely far greater.

Annabi's vote unlocked progress on a project on which Forest City had already spent some $70 million. Forest City's potential losses, from delay, from selling Ridge Hill to other investors, or from shrinking the project, could have been huge. And it only cost Forest City a commitment of $60,000 to Jereis, who ultimately was paid only for three months: $15,000.

So, why didn't prosecutors target the biggest beneficiary?

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Posted by eric at May 16, 2012 12:47 PM