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Developer sues Errigo, Rittler over bribe to block Whole Foods project

Local News

A lawsuit filed by the developer working to build a Whole Foods in Brighton has filed a lawsuit against a former staffer for the county Democrats and Assemblyman Joe Errigo over an effort to block the project.

In October, Errigo was arrested by federal authorities, accused of accepting bribes to introduce legislation intended to block a project in Rochester.

In the lawsuit, Daniele Family Companies claim a former staffer for Monroe County Democrats, Joe Rittler, paid Errigo the bribe to introduce legislation that would allow the state Department of Transportation to approve or disapprove zoning incentives on property along a state highway.

The legislation came after the Brighton Town Board approve incentives for the Whole Foods project which is set to be built on Monroe Avenue near 390. The legislation would have given the state DOT the power to overturn that town board’s decision.

The Danieles say the effort to block the project has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. They want Errigo and Rittler, along with nine others identified only as “John Doe,” to pay those damages, which the Danieles say are at least $650,000, along with other punitive damages.

In a statement, Danny Daniele told News 8: “We have reason to believe there is more to this story that may lead back to those funding the opposition to the Whole Foods Plaza project, and we intend to get to the bottom of it.”

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