Yonkers Democratic pol Sandy Annabi and two others were charged today with conspiracy, bribery, and extortion in connection with the startling reversal in 2006 of Annabi’s opposition to a Forest City Ratner project in Westchester County.
Forest City Ratner, currently trying to ram Atlantic Yards down Brooklyn’s throat, is unnamed and unindicted and unmentioned by specific name even in the U.S. Attorney’s official statement. But the case centers on its controversial Ridge Hill development. (Indictment here; “Developer No. 2” is Forest City Ratner.)
Annabi had led the opposition to the project, blasting Forest City Ratner as “probably richer than God” and “robbing the city blind.” But in July 2006, with the project imperiled, Annabi, who was on the Yonkers City Council, suddenly dropped her opposition to it. The feds say she was bribed.
They’re whooping it up over at Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, which points to Norman Oder‘s piece at Atlantic Yards Report detailing Forest City Ratner’s alleged role: FCR supposedly gave one of the conspirators, GOP muckety-muck Zehy Jereis, a consulting contract after he supposedly got Annabi to change her mind about the Ridge Hill project.
All suspects are innocent until they’re proven guilty or unless they somehow wriggle off the hook. Except for the New Jersey Nets, the condemned property owned by Bruce Ratner. The NBA team is currently 3-31, and not even eminent domain can save it.
In the Westchester case, the feds say Annabi sold her vote “for baubles and trinkets.” That’s standard practice for New Yorkers: In 1626, Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan from the natives for wampum worth about 60 guilders. Some say that was about $24, others $72. As Straight Doper Cecil Adams points out, “There are some who would contend that $72 or even $24 for Manhattan was not such a hot bargain. These people are mostly Republicans.”