FAIRWAY: BRIBERY CASE WON'T HALT STORE

NEW YORK -- Fairway here said last week the company's participation in the Red Hook Project, a mixed-use development on the Brooklyn waterfront that will be anchored by a large Fairway specialty supermarket, remains on course, despite the arrest and indictment late last month of a New York City councilman who in exchange for his support of the project allegedly extorted more than $1 million from its

NEW YORK -- Fairway here said last week the company's participation in the Red Hook Project, a mixed-use development on the Brooklyn waterfront that will be anchored by a large Fairway specialty supermarket, remains on course, despite the arrest and indictment late last month of a New York City councilman who in exchange for his support of the project allegedly extorted more than $1 million from its real estate developer.

A spokeswoman for the Economic Development Corp. here, a not-for-profit organization that works on behalf of New York City, said the supermarket will occupy part of a 230,000-square-foot warehouse built during the Civil War.

She said the project is expected to be approved by the Brooklyn Borough Board at its May meeting and then the sale of the city-owned property, which was negotiated by the EDC, is expected to close this summer. Renovation of the warehouse, which will contain 45 units of housing and some office space along with the Fairway store, is expected to take 18 months, she added.

Alan Vinegrad, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said Angel Rodriguez, a New York councilman representing several Brooklyn neighborhoods including the site of the proposed development, and an associate have been arrested and indicted on charges of extorting more than $1 million in real estate and cash from the developer of the project. According to Vinegrad, the developer agreed to pay Rodriguez and his associate $50,000 in cash and sell them three Brooklyn properties for $1 million, or $1.5 million below their market value. On Jan. 28, Vinegrad said, the developer signed the contract for the sale of the properties; then, on Jan. 29, at a meeting of the council's land-use committee, which he chairs, Rodriguez declared his support of the project he had previously opposed, and the following day the city council voted unanimously to approve the project.

A spokesman for the council said the city's legislative body will let its approval stand because "the vote was so overwhelmingly in favor of the project." He also said Rodriguez has resigned from the chairmanship of the land-use committee, but remains a member of the council. He noted that the city's term-limits law bars Rodriguez from running for re-election in November 2003.

Rodriguez could not be reached for comment.