Former Yonkers City Council majority leader Sandy Annabi was sentenced Monday to six years in federal prison for taking bribes to change her votes on Ridge Hill and a second development project and filing false income tax returns and loan applications.
The 42-year-old Democrat also must forfeit $1.27 million and pay more than $275,000 in restitution and reimbursement for the city’s and federal prosecution’s legal fees.
Her convicted co-conspirator following a seven-week trial that ended in March, former Yonkers Republican Party chairman Zehy Jereis, was sentenced to four years in prison by U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon and ordered to forfeit about $209,500.
In addition to prison terms, Jereis and Annabi will serve two years of supervised release.
Annabi and the 40-year-old Jereis were each convicted of one count of conspiracy to make and accept corrupt payments; one count of conspiracy to deprive the city of Yonkers and its citizens of Annabi’s honest services; two counts of receiving corrupt payments and one count of extortion. Annabi was also convicted of three counts of making false statements to a bank and two counts of filing false tax returns.
A third defendant in the case, Anthony Mangone, a Westchester attorney active in the Republican Party, two years ago pled guilty to conspiracy, bribery, extortion, and tax evasion charges and is awaiting sentencing.
Mangone in 2006 gave Jereis $20,000 in cash to pay Annabi, a three-term council member, to drop her opposition to a redevelopment project at the city’s former Longfellow Junior High School by Yonkers developer Milio Management. The developer paid Mangone $30,000 to bribe Annabi to switch her vote on the project.
Also in 2006, Annabi reversed her position on the Ridge Hill mixed-use development proposed by Forest City Ratner Cos. shortly after two meetings with Jereis and Forest City Ratner officials. After Annabi changed her vote on a zoning change needed for the project, Jereis received a one-year consulting contract from Forest City Ratner worth $60,000.
Annabi was convicted of accepting nearly $200,000 in secret payments over a five-year period from Jereis and others in exchange for her support on the city council for matters in which they had an interest. A jury also found her guilty of making false statements to financial institutions related to loans she was seeking for two houses and an apartment in Yonkers and for filing false federal income tax returns in 2005 and 2006.
Annabi’s financial penalty includes a $164,461 payment to PNC Bank.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement said their sentencing “turns the page on a sordid chapter in the history of the great city of Yonkers.”