Developer of Major New Rochelle Project, Forest City Ratner, Bribed Yonkers Official Sexy Sandy Annabi, U.S. Attorney Charges

Written By: Robert Cox



Forest City Ratner, the developer behind the Echo Bay Redevelopment Project in New Rochelle, has been implicated in a scheme to bribe former Yonkers City Councilwoman Sandy Annabi. The one time Democratic Majority Leader of the Yonkers City Council turned herself into the FBI in White Plains this morning. She has been accused of receiving more than $160,000 In secret payments to change her votes on to Yonkers development projects. The Indictment also charges Zehy Jereis, the former head of the Yonkers Republican Party, and Anthony Mangone a Westchester County attorney, with conspiracy, bribery, and extortion in connection with two real estate development projects within the City of Yonkers which were pending before Annabi..


Since at least 2004, ANNABI has received from JEREIS, MANGONE, and others more than $160,000 worth of secret payments designed to influence and reward her for favorable official action or inaction on matters pending before the City Council as specific opportunities arose. ANNABI, JEREIS, and MANGONE also took various steps to conceal their scheme, by making false statements and/or omitting required information in various reporting documents.

Former Yonkers City Councilwoman Sandy Annabi Allegedly Received More Than $160,000 In Secret Payments; Defendants Charged With Conspiracy, Bribery, Extortion, False Statements, and Tax Crimes

The “Ridge Hill Development Project” was a project proposed by a large developer (“Developer No. 2”) to develop an 81-acre tract of land to establish retail shopping, restaurants, office space, hundreds of residential housing units, and a hotel and conference center.

The “Longfellow Project” was a project proposed by a developer to develop a tract of land located partially within the Yonkers City Council District represented by ANNABI by renovating and transforming two vacant and dilapidated schools into market-rate housing ()

The Yonkers Tribune reported on the budding investigation in May 2008: U.S. Investigates Yonkers Development After Official’s Surprising ‘Yes’ Vote

To the political and legal cognoscenti in Yonkers, the length and breadth of the inquiry suggests that it must extend beyond Ms. Annabi’s about-face, and perhaps far beyond Yonkers’ 18 square miles to some of Westchester County’s leading power brokers.

Investigators have inquired about Zehy Jereis, the former chairman of the Republican Party here and a distant relative of Ms. Annabi’s — and subpoenaed his financial disclosure forms, though city officials said they had none to turn over. Prosecutors have asked about Albert J. Pirro Jr., a former lobbyist for Forest City Ratner and the estranged husband of Westchester’s former district attorney, Jeanine F. Pirro.

And they have also questioned whether former State Senator Nicholas A. Spano, whose ability to find money in Albany for Yonkers has long made him a Republican legend, or his brother Mike Spano, a Democratic assemblyman who worked as a lobbyist for Ratner between terms in Albany, exerted any undue influence.

The Yonkers City web site offers a this bit of irony in Annabi’s official bio:

Majority Leader Sandy Annabi was born in Yonkers, New York to parents of Jordanian descent. As an alumna of Catholic schools, she went on to graduate from Iona College in 1992, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice. Sandy maintained a position on the Dean’s List throughout her years at Iona College. During her senior year at Iona, Sandy participated in an internship program with the Westchester County Probation Department. It is at this time that Sandy developed a love for government and a passion for service.

Sounds like the internship will be put to good use someday. Maybe they will make a movie…

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16 thoughts on “Developer of Major New Rochelle Project, Forest City Ratner, Bribed Yonkers Official Sexy Sandy Annabi, U.S. Attorney Charges”

  1. Bruce, Bruce, Bruce
    Hey buddy. I’ll leave the fact that the Armory will be the best thing for the community in decades aside for now. That being said, they claim 25 mil to build the city yard in a place that can’t support the infrastructure needs of the yard, plus, that’s 25 mil 3 years ago, plus what project taken over by any government hits it’s budget without overruns, plus Forest city gets the current property (6 acres of prime waterfront) for FREE. Claims of FC’s investment to “clean up” never include the state subsidy for cleanup projects. So, say 3mil/ acre for waterfront + 32mil for new city yard(more realistic according to contractor,not politician, estimates), + abatements, we’re giving them 80mil or so to do WHO a favor. It’s a bad deal all around. The sin of not turning the Armory into a state wide showcase/ revenue generator/ community enhrichment center, is just short sided and a whopping failure to make this city better, instead of bigger on the backs of taxpayers. Believe me, the Armory will be restored to help the city without costing the city (taxpayers) a dime. Stay tuned for more details.

    1. John D, Thanks for the call to the show last night…..
      let me say this. if the Armory could be run efficiently and promoted as an “entertainment space” type place i would be for that. NR needs a COMMUNITY gathering place. But my real fear is that it becomes another County Center. There are only so many stamp shows and computer expo’s i will attend. do not have much faith in a sustainable Armory if we do not have the right people to run it.

      That is my thought. Talk to you soon.

      New Rochelle News and Views Radio Program
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      1. Bruce
        Bruce, why must we lobby for an ice rink at City Park? That would be a great attraction for the Armory turned community center dedicated to Veterans. It is just a few blocks from the heart of downtown and would make a great gathering point to usher in New Year after the First Night celebration ends at 9 pm. As far as efficiency goes, if there’s a will to make it work we can find the right programming. Think about taking your children ice skating at the Armory and then going to a movie at New Roc topped off by lunch or dinner. As you have stated many times there is money to be made renting ice time by many hockey teams and leagues which can be used to offset maintenance costs.

        Forest City is the wrong developer for various reasons as pointed out by multiple bloggers here. Taking the Yonkers fiasco into account, Noam should return all campaign contributions immediately and let Forest City’s extension expire as they fade off into the sunset or Rikers if found guilty.

        Yes the Armory is an emotional issue but more importantly it is a matter of respect and honor to our Veterans as well as a legal issue per the deed. This is the basic problem with all levels of dysfunctional government; when politicians’ lips move words come out without meaning. I call it verbal diarrhea. When will someone’s word be there bond? When will politicians abide by their campaign promises and or the legal documents which bear their signatures? The past and present administrations are a disgrace in that the Armory issue was a scam from the get-go. They never intended to honor the deed to maintain and keep the Armory for public use. The Armory was used like a pawn in a game of chess to keep a unified parcel of land whole for the highest bidding tax abated developer.

        Anthony Galletta

  2. As big an issue as the Armory handover
    The handing over of the Armory is an emotionally charged issue no doubt but what gets me about the whole Echo bay project is that New Ro and New Ro alone would have to foot the bill for moving the City Yard. This is a 25 million dollar undertaking.

    The City Yard should not be on the waterfront and i would be willing to accept tax abatements for a project like this if Forrest City would foot the cost or at least split the cost of moving the City Yard to another location.

    25 million dollars that you and I have to pick up makes me pretty emotional as well.

    1. ECHO BAY
      Bruce, time in and time again in this blog and elswhere I have indicated the risk and growing consequences of dealing with Ratner and Echo Bay. Prior to their issues with Brooklyn and Riverside, we could reflect in the sleazy handling of public opinion by meand of the assigned Ratner fluniy. We had other indications that Forest City were not the sort of developers/neighbors we wanted into our fair city. But, politicis is what it is and both money and power corrupts almost as much as ego.Is it any wonder that most great theological systems and now, self help pros like Tolle are pointing out the dangers of thinking with its bonding on egocetrcism.

      Noam has openly announced campaign funds from Forest City, but I don’t think he understands how this is perceived by the average Joe. Hillary Clinto did when she returned much more hefty contributions to a shady character. But, when you are ego-locked into a “legacy” you lose your way.

      It needs to be found. the deal stunk from the get go. I even remember Strome stating somewhat sheepishly that tax relief was not in the cards for teh city given this project or at least for many years.

      Bruce you got the bully pulpit. You have a viewpoint and it is usually one we need to hear.We are going to reaad more about Ratner and co shortly and of that there is no doubt. If we are still interested in this project, there is no doubt that a developer can be found to treat the armory as a historic site and convert into a recreation family center with a chapel for servvice men, etc…. this would heal a rift and should be done. we can surely find a more suitable site for the dpw. I don’t want to hear any applesauce about no available sites. If by some miracle none existed, rent or lease in mamaroneck or pelham manor. thinking outside the box would not hurt this city. it is like saying we cannot do a because of no parking, congestion, etc… on the surgace insolvable as you cannot easily mandate number of cars per family, etc….. but portland oregon and others came up with a way via a tram public service system and strategially planned downtown into a safe, repeat safe entertainment, restuarant, and speciality shop area. they put a police precint, public service city buildings and offices from city hall to augment. It can and should happen. I am an old guy — need guys with your mind and killoran’s energy to make this happen — so try to be a force and i will back you with everything i can gin up from my past and it was a lot.

      good on you as we used to say in australia

      warren grposs

  3. We can only hope the US
    We can only hope the US Attorney moves over to the Queen City on the Sound to review what has gone on over here. Although I would expect that much of what has gone on here in New Rochelle might be legal you could bet it still has a huge odor as these guys were willing to throw a property like the Armory into a developers hands without any legal right according to the deed. While they are at it I suggest they haul in Ratners NY State Lobyist and start presuring some of our local State Senetors and Assemblymembers. Its a rats nest. Connecting the dots should be easy when they start papering Ratners guys and start to install the shackles on some of their feet. Oh boy its like a dream turning into a nightmare for our local politicals.

  4. forest city
    another black mark on the infamous resume of bruce ratner and forest city. while having no comment on the annabi situation (the Westchester Guardian is sure to have much to say given the enmity of Annabi and others to Mayor Amicone), I think we have seen enough of Forest City to demand their exit. Yes, I would surely return any money received from them were I in office in New Rochelle. Hillary Clinton and others would make it a practice to return money to anyone under the cloud of suspicion — again, Ratner seems to employ a time honored tactic of hiring “consultants.”

    Opportune time to bail, rethink, restructure and refocus on an area (Echo Bay) that should not be in the planning critical curve.

    Hope it happens, but doubt it.’
    warren Gross

  5. Is that all he received ? You tell me
    Looking at Annabi’s spending habits on housing makes you wonder if that’s the payola du jour . Handing envelops of cash under the table is so passe these days . Real estate and favors surrounding it are so much more convenient , until you’re caught of course . Didn’t the mayor buy his house at a well below market price ? HMMMMMMMM

  6. Bramson is a Criminal -you can’t give it back after you’re caugh
    Really ? Give it back ? If you rob a bank and get caught , do you get off because you gave it back ? Having a sudden change of heart after commiting a crime doesn’t mean you weren’t a criminal to begin with . It just means you got caught and now you’re trying to save your ass . The Ratners gave Bramson 5000 worth of pay to play money . If they were that bold , don’t you think there’s a cadre of puppets who also donated ? He probably raked in ten times that from the Ratner puppets . This is who the city council is in bed with . I’d rather see them caught with prostitutes , at least then it’s only themselves that get hurt . Not the whole city of New Rochelle . Where’s the US attorney when you need him ?

  7. Bramson should refund campaign contributions
    I wonder if Mayor Bramson will refund $5,000 in campaign contributions from the Forest City Ratner family as reported here on Talk of the Sound Now we know where some of the money saved through abatements and Payment In Lieu Of Taxes goes.

    Anthony Galletta

    1. Campain funding is a whos who of developers agents
      Start looking at the campaign contributors not from New Ro . Just about every one of them has ties to either Cappelli or is in real estate development . All of them are big contributors , 1000.00 or more . Cappelli , Ratner , Piro , infamous names that keep coming up as you google the big contributors . Coincidence they all donated for the Bramson For Mayor campaign ?

      1. And if you look at Senator
        And if you look at Senator Dodds payments from AIG and other Banks you begin to understand why he no longer can get elected without spending 50 Million. Thus he is burnt toast.
        Bramson gets his money from those same developers and he also gets it funneled down from relatives. Sooner or later maybe New Rochelle voters will have enough of this nonsense even if it is legal it is unethical because he is leading 3 other councilmebers to make decisions of develpments not upon the merits of the developments but on his own election coffers and his own Political climbing ambition. I say again it is legal but it is unethical to take campaign money from those you are in a position to favor. Thats plain and simple. There is something wrong with the process. Then when you look at the fact that Bramson can then seat Sussman and Strome on the IDA of New Rochelle with 3 other weak players and an Attorney looking to augment his Legal Career with New Rochelle incestual Politics you see Cappelli and Ratner are in a very good position to benefit from Bramson getting his coffers full from those same Developers. There is indeed something wrong or certainly you can bet this Stinks like Echo Bay at Low Tide.

      2. name names please
        “Bramson can then seat Sussman and Strome on the IDA of New Rochelle with 3 other weak players and an Attorney looking to augment his Legal Career with New Rochelle incestual Politics you see Cappelli and Ratner are in a very good position to benefit from Bramson getting his coffers full from those same Developers. ”

        Who exactly are you talking about here?

      3. Lacher, David

        Lacher, David
        Bell, Gordon
        Mitchel, Leroy
        Robinson, Lloyd

        Sussman, Marrianne
        Strome, Charles

        The above list is from the IDA Financial report.
        They hand out the Pilots at the Will of the Mayor.
        Sussman chairs the fiasco and Chuck III helps ram it all home.
        If you can’t figure whom the attorney is and who the other stooges are then you need to show up to a meeting. This crowd will make the school board look ethical. If you attending any of the open to the public meeting where by they asked the public to comment you will know its a sham. They handed Apicella another 25 years for New Roc Retail while every speaker spoke out against it. It was a done deal before the public meeting.

      4. Just great , More school board trash
        How much are we willing to allow the school board to infest the operation of the city . You have Organisciak on the “green ” council (did anyone tell him it’s green – as in environment and not taxpayer cash) Lacher on the IDA . What’s next , Martian Daly heading the Fire Union ? Hastie running the trash dept . (that might work , he seems comfortable talking trash) . The movie “Deliverance” didn’t have this much inbreeding . Right ?

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