NEW YORK - Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano took the stand today in the federal corruption and bribery trial of former Yonkers Councilwoman Sandy Annabi, and said he lobbied as hard as he could for the controversial Ridge Hill development that's at the center of the case.
Annabi was a staunch opponent of the project, but then changed her vote because she claims the project developer Forest City Ratner promised a $10 million payment to the city and $500,000 for a traffic study.
But prosecutors say the vote was changed because Annabi got $174,000 in bribes from her co-defendant and political mentor Zehy Jereis.
Spano, in between time as a state assemblyman, worked for the Albany lobbying firm that was trying to push the Ridge Hill development through and said he worked hard to sway Annabi.
Spano was one of the many local politicians being called in to testify in the trial. First to take the stand today was former Yonkers Councilman Dennis Robertson. The Democrat testified that while on the council, he supported the Ridge Hill project.
Robertson said that he did not trust or like Annabi because of her relationship with Jereis. Robertson talked about a meeting he had with Al Pirro, who was lobbying on behalf of Forest City Ratner. Robertson claims Pirro told him: "Don't worry about Sandy Annabi, we'll give Zehy Jereis a consulting job and we'll get her vote." Robertson says when he confronted Annabi about what Pirro said, she said nothing. But years later, Robertson says that Annabi told him: "Zehy Jereis got me in a lot of trouble and I shouldn't have listened to him."
Testimony in the case resumes Monday.
Yonkers federal corruption trial continues
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