A Brooklyn activist by the name of Daniel Goldstein writing for The Huffington Post poses some serious questions about why Forest City Ratner, the developer of the Ridge Hill project in Yonkers, escaped accusations of criminality in a bribe case that resulted in the indictments of Yonkers city Councilwoman Sandy Annabi, former city Republican chief Zehy Jereis and Anthony Mangone.
Goldstein interest in Ridge Hill stems from his opposition to the highly controversial $4.9 billion “Atlantic Yards” project in Brooklyn—another Forest City project—which includes the construction of 16 high-rises buildings and a basketball arena for the worst basketball team in the history of the NBA, the Nets. He is the co-founder of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and is also a spokesman for the group.
Goldstein wonders how it is that Ratner officials haven’t been indicted for bribery when the company directly benefited from Annabi’s sudden and rather shocking switch from objecting to the Ridge Hill project to then supporting it.
According to the federal indictment recounted by Goldstein, Annabi had been lobbied by Forest City, but didn’t budge from her position until several days after meeting at a restaurant with Ratner reps and Jereis. At the meeting, Jereis was given a $60,000 real estate consulting job, for which he was unqualified. Five days after a second meeting, Annabi changed her mind about Ridge Hill and stated her switch in a press release co-written by Ratner officials and Jereis.
Among other things, Goldstein asks: “When is Attorney General Cuomo going to investigate the wrongdoing in Yonkers and Forest City Ratner’s role in it? A first step for the yet-to-be-officially-announced gubernatorial candidate would be to return the $5,000 donation Bruce Ratner gave him because of the clear implications of the Ridge Hill indictments.”