Thursday, June 09, 2011

Ridge Hill corruption trial delayed until early next year; companion case more clear, as one of those indicted has reached a plea deal

When will we understand the mystery of Ridge Hill, in which a City Council member in Yonkers and lobbyists have been indicted in a corruption case that significantly benefited Forest City Ratner's Ridge Hill project?

Not this month, despite indications in February that the trial would come in June.

In March, we learned that the lawyer for indicted former Yonkers Councilmember Sandy Annabi wanted a federal judge to unseal attorney Anthony Mangone's plea deal with federal prosecutors.

Case delayed

On May 27, the Journal News reported, in Convicted lawyer to testify in corruption case:
A politically connected lawyer is expected to testify against former Yonkers Councilwoman Sandy Annabi and her cousin as part of a cooperation agreement he reached last year with federal prosecutors.

Anthony Mangone's guilty plea agreement in the Yonkers corruption case was unsealed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan and spells out his promise to cooperate with and testify truthfully for the government.

The agreement does not detail which cases Mangone must testify about — but he would be a key prosecution witness in the Yonkers case.

Annabi is a former Democratic city councilwoman in Yonkers and Zehy Jereis, her cousin, is a former chairman of the Yonkers Republican party. She is accused of changing her votes to support a pair of developments — the $650 million Ridge Hill project opening this year and the failed Longfellow School project — after Jereis paid her more than $174,000 over several years.
The case has been delayed, according to the newspaper, until early next year.

Ridge Hill murky

However, the Ridge Hill aspect of the case remains murky. Mangone represented the Longfellow developer.

Jereis was hired for a no-show job by Forest City Ratner. So the case would get much more interesting if and when he reaches a plea agreement.

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