Come Clean on Ridge Hill By JOHN MURTAGH
Mayoral Candidate Spano Must Explain his Role in Bribery Scandal
I have renewed my call today for my political opponent Mike Spano to fully and directly explain his role in the bribery scandal that has already resulted in the conviction of one of Spano’s closest long time aides.
During a live debate on News 12 Westchester last night, I asked Spano to explain his role as a highly paid lobbyist for a major developer -- who was caught bribing Spano’s Assembly Counsel Anthony Mangone -- as well as offering long time Spano confidant Zehy Jereis a $60,000 no-show job in exchange for his delivering the deciding vote for the approval of the Ridge Hill project.
In 2006, Mike Spano, who had taken two years off from the NYS Assembly, was working as a six-figure lobbyist for the lobbying firm of Patricia Lynch & Associates -- a firm which recently was fined $500,000 for its role in the Alan Hevesi pay to play scandal. Lynch is also an equity stake holder in brother Nick Spano’s Albany lobbying firm.
When confronted during the debate, Spano did not deny that it was he who made the introduction of Jereis to the developer’s senior vice president Bruce Bender.
Within a few weeks of that introduction, Jereis’ cousin, Councilwoman Sandy Annabi, abandoned her long time opposition to the Ridge Hill project and cast the deciding vote to approve it, after which Jereis was awarded with a high paying no-show job. The federal indictment also alleges that Jereis and Mangone passed additional bribes along to Annabi.
Today I said, “Mike Spano owes the people of Yonkers a full and credible explanation of his role in this ongoing federal bribery investigation. He also needs to explain to the voters why they should elect a mayor who already has a long history of employing and working with convicted felons”.
Mangone, Nick Spano’s former Chief of Staff and Mike Spano’s former counsel, was indicted on corruption charges in connection with the ongoing Ridge Hill investigation. Mangone, who doubled as a mob attorney for Genovese mafia capo Patsy Parrello, became a government informant shortly after his indictment and is presently cooperating in both the Ridge Hill and Putnam County federal investigations.
Jereis, who has previous convictions for drug dealing and election fraud, was indicted in January 2010 on corruption charges in connection with the Ridge Hill investigation after Mike Spano introduced him to the developers. Jereis' wife is also a member of Spano’s Assembly staff.