YONKERS - Executives for real estate company Forest City Ratner took the stand today in the corruption trial of former Yonkers City Councilwoman Sandy Annabi. The firm, which was involved in the Ridge Hill development, was never accused of any wrongdoing.
Annabi is being charged with taking bribes to push the controversial project through. Scott Cantone, former vice president of Forest City Ratner, finished his testimony today, stating that the political climate of Yonkers in 2006 was crazy. Cantone also admitted that he wanted Annabi's support for the multimillion-dollar project.
Cantone says he failed until he met Zehy Jereis, chair of the Yonkers GOP and Annabi's political mentor. Calling his efforts persistent, Cantone said that Jereis had wanted a job with Forest City Ratner.
Former Executive Vice President Bruce Bender also took the stand today. Bender confirmed that Jereis was pushing for a consulting job with the firm. Bender also testified that he had no knowledge of Jereis giving Annabi money for gifts, real estate or loans.
As soon as Annabi switched her vote, the firm hired Jereis as a consultant.
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