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County Corruption: Picozzi gets two years for bribing Cleveland building inspectors

5:18 PM, Sep 1, 2009   |    comments
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U.S. District Judge Kathleen O'Malley could have sentenced him to several more years under federal sentencing guidelines.

The overall federal investigation centers on allegations that Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo traded jobs and contracts for thousands of dollars of free improvements to their homes and properties.

The investigation went public at 9 a.m. July 28, 2008, when 175 agents from the FBI and IRS simultaneously raided county offices, businesses and homes throughout Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.

On March 31, 2009, Picozzi pleaded guilty to five counts of bribery, all felonies, for paying $6,000 to two Cleveland building inspectors, and buying meals and providing entertainment, in exchange for expedited approvals on K&D's Stonebridge development near the West Bank of the Flats.

One of those two inspectors, Bobby Cuevas, has already supplied federal authorities with testimony and information regarding the corruption probe.

According to court records, O'Malley received more than 60 letters on behalf of Picozzi for a lighter sentence. 

The pre-sentencing memorandum from his attorney Richard H. Blake contained the following description of Picozzi during the time of his illegal conduct:

"At the time Mr. Picozzi was working at Stonebridge, he was single and lived on site in one of the apartments already constructed. His daily routine throughout much of 2007 consisted of working at Stonebridge all day, then partying at local clubs until late at night. His partying included drinking most every night and cocaine usage throughout the week and weekends. He was living the classic "life in the fast lane.""

The pre-sentence report also details how Picozzi turned his life around in late 2007 and moved from Stonebridge to live with his girlfriend, who has since become his wife.


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