Skip to main content

From the U.S. Attorney on the Yonkers case: "the developer enlisted the [now-indicted] Jereis," but he "demanded" a consulting contract from FCR

Forest City Ratner says it's not a target in the Yonkers corruption case involving former Council Member Sandy Annabi and former Republican Party Chair Zehy Jereis, but the U.S. Attorney wouldn't confirm that.

According to the prepared remarks for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, which I received today, the clues regarding FCR's role are contradictory; one sentence suggests FCR was a mover behind the alleged dirty deal, while another suggests that "Developer No. 2" might have been extorted:
In June, the developer enlisted Jereis, who had been providing Annabi with tens of thousands of dollars in secret payments, to get Councilwoman Annabi’s vote.

...And for his part, Jereis demanded, and received, a so-called consulting contract worth $60,000 a year from the Ridge Hill developer immediately after Councilwoman Annabi switched her vote.
Did FCR blow the whistle?

According to unnamed sources talking to the Daily News (as noted by DDDB), it looks like FCR was playing along:
At no time during these meetings and agreements with Jereis did Ratner go to the FBI, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.
The remarks about Ridge Hill, verbatim

The Indictment also lays out the facts surrounding Councilwoman Annabi’s sudden about-face on the “Ridge Hill Development Project.”

That was a project proposed by another developer to transform an 81-acre tract of land into retail shopping, restaurants, office space, and other uses. As with the Longfellow project, the Councilwoman was an outspoken critic of the Ridge Hill Project as well.

She voted against the project; she filed a civil lawsuit to block it; and she repeatedly rejected efforts by the Ridge Hill developer to persuade her.

That all changed over just a few days in June 2006. In June, the developer enlisted Jereis, who had been providing Annabi with tens of thousands of dollars in secret payments, to get Councilwoman Annabi’s vote. And that is what he did. Within days of Jereis’s involvement, Councilwoman Annabi did an about-face on the Ridge Hill project. What’s more, that reversal was announced in a press release – drafted by Jereis and representatives of the developer.

And for his part, Jereis demanded, and received, a so-called consulting contract worth $60,000 a year from the Ridge Hill developer immediately after Councilwoman Annabi switched her vote.

Beyond these allegations, the Indictment also charges that – on three separate occasions for three different properties – Councilwoman Annabi engaged in mortgage fraud. She made a series of false statements in order to obtain favorable mortgages and home equity loans. Among other things, we allege that she:
1. misled banks about her liabilities;
2. lied about the source of her down payments;
3. and submitted fake pay stubs, doctored W-2s, and bogus bank statements.

Finally, the Indictment charges Councilwoman Annabi with filing false tax returns for tax years 2005 and 2006.

Comments

  1. I see no ambiguity in where this is heading for FCRC. Note the report in the Daily News that the consulting agreement with FCRC was entered into after the change of Annabi's position/vote, but that the consulting agreement was backdated two months. This fasification suggests that FCRC believed that its own conduct was improper.

    Nor do I see a shakedown of FCRC. What was Jereis' threat? That Annabi would vote against the project? That was always her position.

    Assuming the facts of the Daily News article to be true, it leads to one conclusion: Annabi was selling, and FCRC was buying.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Right. Jereis "extorted" Ratner? Seems to me that Jereis had nothing to hurt Ratner with, but Ratner certainly had plenty to hurt Jereis with.

    If Ratner says no to Jereis' entreaties, what does Jereis do to Ratner?

    Put it this way. A development approval is at the center of a corruption indictment, including conspiracy and bribery--who has something to gain from conspiring? The developer, of course. Who would initiate or propel a plan? The developer of course.

    Allegedly for all, of course.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

"There is no alternative": DM Glen on de Blasio's affordable housing strategy

As I've written, Mayor Bill de Blasio sure knows how to steer and spin coverage of his affordable housing initiatives.

Indeed, his latest announcement, claiming significant progress, came with a pre-press release op-ed in the New York Daily News and then a friendly photo-op press conference with an understandably grateful--and very lucky--winner of an affordable housing lottery.

To me, though, the most significant quote came from Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who, as the Wall Street Journal reported:
said public housing had been “starved” of federal support for years now, leaving the city with fewer ways of creating affordable housing. “Are we relying too heavily on the private sector?” she said. “There is no alternative.” Though Glen was using what she surely sees as a common-sense phrase, it recalls the slogan of a politician with whom I doubt de Blasio identifies: former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a Conservative who believed in free markets.

It suggests the limits to …