The federal bribery and corruption trial which centers on Forest City Ratner's Yonkers Ridge Hill development project has been playing out for over week in a Manhattan federal court room. This is the case where the alleged bribee, former Yonkers councilwoman and Ridge Hill vote-flipper Sandy Annabi, was indicted, and the briber, Yonkers GOP operative and Annabi cousin (or lover, or wannabe lover, or all three, it is not clear) Zehy Jereis, was indicted, while nobody associated with the beneficiary of the bribeŚBruce Ratner's Forest City Ratner companyŚwas indicted.
The two (now) ex-Ratner fixers and lobbyists ta the heart of the Yonkers shenanigans, Bruce Bender and Scott Cantone, have now both testified under oath. More on that later, because we must first highlight this quote from Ratner uber flack Joe DePlasco who must have thought he was doing stand up when explaining why Forest City Ratner didn't do a background check on Jereis before they
"hired" him for a no-show job paid him $5k/month after Annabi flipped her vote. Turns out that without that background check the squeaky clean development firm failed to uncover the fact that Jereis had been convicted of both drug dealing and election fraud.
What did DePlasco have to say about this reveleation? Rich Calder of the NY Post reports (We didn't know we hired a crook: Ratner firm):
Who do we contact to nominate that for quote of the year?
...FCR spokesman Joe DePlasco said the firm had "no way of knowing" Jereis had a criminal record because "he was the leader of the Yonkers Republican Party."
Update: Norman Oder's quick search on The Google turned up numerous accounts of Jereis' previous convictions, which somehow Forest City Ratner had "no way of knowing."