Sunday, November 06, 2011

If both parties got charged in the Boyland bribery case, finishing up in federal court, why did Forest City Ratner (or an affiliate/staffer) get a bye with Ridge Hill?

A current federal bribery trial sets up a distinct contrast with a case involving Forest City Ratner.

In an 11/2/11 article headlined Corruption Trial Opens for Lawmaker From Brooklyn Political Family, the New York Times reported:
An assemblyman from one of Brooklyn’s most prominent political families struck a secret deal to use his influence in Albany on behalf of a hospital chief executive in return for a sham consulting job that paid him about $175,000, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.

The assemblyman, William F. Boyland Jr., “demanded a no-show job to enrich himself,” the prosecutor, William J. Harrington, told the jury as the politician’s trial began in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

“Boyland did no meaningful hospital work,” Mr. Harrington said, adding that what the hospital, Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, got for its money was “a paid advocate in Albany, a politician on the take.”

...On Tuesday, a lawyer for Mr. Boyland told the jury there was no evidence that his client had accepted bribes and that the government’s case “rests really on cynicism, speculation and suspicion, because you are not going to find evidence of that unlawful agreement,” the lawyer, Richard H. Rosenberg, said in his opening statement.

He said Mr. Boyland had done genuine consulting work for Brookdale, an arrangement he had reached with David P. Rosen, then the chief executive of MediSys, the nonprofit sponsor of Brookdale and other hospitals, nursing homes and neighborhood health centers in Queens and Brooklyn.

...Mr. Rosen was tried this summer by Judge Jed S. Rakoff — in a nonjury trial, at Mr. Rosen’s request. In September, Judge Rakoff issued a ruling finding Mr. Rosen guilty of seeking to bribe Mr. Boyland and two other Democratic officials — Assemblyman Anthony S. Seminerio of Queens and Senator Carl Kruger of Brooklyn — in return for favorable treatment for MediSys.
What about Ridge Hill?

As I wrote in March 2010:
After all, City Council Member Sandy Annabi changed her vote to approve the project and was indicted for accepting bribes. Her cousin, Zehy Jereis, was indicted for giving them.

FCR, which hired Jereis for an apparent no-show job, 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.

If so, 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.
If Rosen, who arranged the consulting job for Boyland, was tried and convicted, why has the person (or party) who arranged the no-show job for Jereis given a pass? (Jereis has yet to come to trial.)

Boyland case should finish this week

Summations in the case are expected Tuesday, November 8. Boyland chose not to testify on Friday, according to the Times, and his lawyer asked the judge for a directed verdict of acquittal:
“We believe that although they have established that money was paid and that official acts occurred,” the lawyer, Michael K. Bachrach, said, “we do not believe the evidence supports one was for the other.”

Judge [Jed] Rakoff denied the motion, saying there was “more than ample circumstantial evidence from which the jury could infer” that such an agreement had existed between Mr. Rosen and Mr. Boyland.

He cited, for example, Mr. Boyland’s “seeming lack of any genuine consulting activity” while he was being paid as a consultant. The jury could infer, he added, that it “was because it was a sham agreement.”
The same might be said for a jury in the Ridge Hill case.

Boyland case involves sister Tracy

In the Boyland case, according to the Brooklyn Ink, testimony suggested untoward behavior by Boyland's sister, Tracy Boyland, a former Council Member (who in 2006 ran a rather curious race for state Senate against incumbent Velmanette Montgomery):
In a letter from 2005 presented by the prosecution, Councilwoman Boyland informed Rosen that 2 million dollars in funding would be awarded to the hospital for the fiscal year. Another document offered by the government shows that Royal Health Care hired Tracy Boyland in 2005. According to the document, Councilwoman Boyland used Rosen as a reference when she applied for the position.

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