The Real Deal New York

Forest City Ratner testifies it paid political insider to swing vote on Westchester development

February 24, 2012 08:30AM

From left: Former Yonkers Republican Party Chairman Zehy Jereis and Former Yonkers Council member Sandy Annabi

A Forest City Ratner executive testified the firm paid $5,000 per month to then-Yonkers Republican Party Chairman Zehy Jereis because he could swing a key vote to approve a $650 million Westchester mixed-use development, the New York Post reported.

Scott Cantone, the firm’s senior vice president for government affairs, took the stand in a Manhatttan federal court case on political corruption in Yonkers, to discuss accusations that former Yonkers Council member Sandy Annabi accepted more than $160,000 in bribes through Jereis.

Cantone admitted the firm likely would not have hired Jereis had he not been able to change Annabi’s vote, but said the firm fired Jereis after three months and a total payout of $15,000 when it learned he was involved in the corruption probe.

Though Forest City Ratner is not charged with any wrongdoing, this marks the second recent corruption case, after the Sen. Carl Kruger trial in December, in which the developer has been named. [Post]

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