Thursday, March 29, 2012

Developer comments on Yonkers verdict: "This trial was not about the actions of Forest City Ratner" (not quite)

A tidbit from the expanded New York Times coverage of the Yonkers corruption trial verdict:
“This trial was not about the actions of Forest City Ratner,” the company said Thursday, adding it had “no knowledge of the financial relationship between Ms. [Sandy] Annabi and Mr. [Zehy] Jereis.”
Well, it wasn't, and it was about Forest City Ratner.

After all, would Bruce Bender and Scott Cantone, who ran the government relations office and hired Zehy Jereis as a reward for his helping get Council Member Sandy Annabi to flip her vote, still be with Forest City if there weren't some clouds over that behavior?

Yes, Bender and Cantone testified, they had no knowledge about the financial relationship between Annabi and Jereis. But they also made no effort to check for his criminal record, or to request the reports Jereis was supposed to send in to validate his no-show consulting job. And they made sure he got paid.

That, as Greg David of Crain's New York Business--generally a friend to Forest City--might put it, sounds like "See no evil, hear no evil."

And the trial surely illuminated actions that, while not claimed as illegal, seem to violate the company's code of conduct, which bars "improper payment or promise of same."

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