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Cuyahoga County: Prosecutor Bill Mason answers critics about corruption probe

9:44 AM, Sep 19, 2010   |    comments
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Mason sat down for an exclusive interview with Channel 3 Senior Political Correspondent Tom Beres.

The column on Friday's editorial page of the Plain Dealer was written by retired Cleveland State Law Professor David Barnhizer.

It calls Mason "an 800-pound gorilla" and asks why the politically-wired chief law enforcement officer of the county did not know about the web of bribery, corruption and kickbacks the FBI found in its investigations of Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former Auditor Frank Russo.

Mason backed Dimora to be party chairman.

"Tom, I'm the county prosecutor. Do you really think they are going to tell me what they are doing?...When public officials are not in my presence I don't know what calls they are making or if they are having affairs...if we would have been made aware, we would have done something," he said.

Mason knows there are rumors flying that new players snared in the corruption probe may have information about him to trade with federal prosecutors.

"I'm not worried. We can't be concerned with the rumor mill. We have to deal with facts. I'm not worried about my conduct or the conduct of my office," he said.

The State Ethics Commission has open investigations about a Mason office business relationship and campaign donations from Mason's workers. He has returned those donations.

Prosecutor is the only holdover office in the new county government. Does he intend to be in that office when the new county government is sworn in?

"Every day when they kick me in the head, you get those thoughts. But I have two years left in my term and I will continue to do the things I do, continue to do my job everyday to prosecute the worst of the worst in this community," Mason said.

He reminded critics of positive things he is doing for the community, including overseeing a planned Lake Erie wind farm, chairing a state group battling internet child predators, and overseeing creation of a new, bigger and  better crime lab.

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