Though not charged with any crimes, Bruce Ratner has found himself a prominent role in recent corruption cases involving Yonkers and Brooklyn politicians, a New York Times columnist said, thanks largely to his maneuvering for approval for two massive developments.
Ratner has hired a mix of former politicians, political consultants and lobbyists to obtain approval and funding for his Atlantic Yards project and a less-publicized, 81-acre luxury residential and retail complex he’s trying to build in Yonkers called Ridge Hill.
For those maneuvers, Ratner is named as “Developer No. 1” in the corruption indictments against Sen. Carl Kruger, who gave support to the Atlantic Yards project through a series of connections that point to Ratner.
In Yonkers, Ratner’s political moves are less understated. After the county planning board turned down his Ridge Hill project, Ratner hired a former counsel to a powerful Yonkers politician and the city’s Republican chairman. An Assemblyman resigned his seat to take a job with the Ratner’s lobbying firm, which is headed by a former top aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. That Assemblyman is Michael Spano, who is now the mayor of Yonkers.
And the Republican Chairman, Zehy Jereis is now indicted on federal charges of corruption and bribery related to voting for the Ridge Hill project. [NYT]