Saturday, February 05, 2011

Will mystery of Ridge Hill be explained when case goes to trial in June?

The Journal News reports, in Jereis, Annabi corruption trial set for June, that former Yonkers Democratic City Councilwoman Sandy Annabi and former Yonkers Republican Chairman Zehy Jereis will face a federal trial in June regarding allegations that Annabi switched her vote to green-light Forest City Ratner's Ridge Hill project, after taking bribes from her cousin Jereis.

FCR, which hired Jereis for an apparent no-show job not long after he organized a meeting with Annabi and she switched her vote, paid him $60,000. FCR was not indicted and issued a statement indicating that it had been told by federal prosecutors that neither it nor its employees was a "target" of the investigation.

As I wrote last March, that suggests either that prosecutors lack sufficient evidence to indict the developer and/or that they believe the developer's cooperation justifies not seeking its indictment.

Thus, FCR not only escaped sanction for some questionable behavior--it has never explained or justified the no-show contract--it also can continue to benefit from a zoning change that was, according to prosecutors, illicitly gained.

Second part of case

Attorney Anthony Mangone has already pleaded guilty regarding another part of the case, in which he said he paid Jereis bribes to get Annabi to support the Longfellow School redevelopment

It's unclear, according to the news report, whether Mangone will testify against Annabi and Jereis, but he was not charged in connection with Ridge Hill.

While Jereis is alleged to have paid Annabi more than $160,000 total, it's unclear what percentage is related to Ridge Hill.

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