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County corruption: The charges against Frank Russo's son

6:12 PM, Sep 9, 2010   |    comments
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On the day of Vince's arrest, his attorney William Beyer was asked if the federal grand jury indictment of Vince Russo was a way to get at his father, Frank Russo.

To that, Beyer said "I think so."

WKYC Cuyahoga County corruption probe stories

Vince Russo, 31, of Willoughby Hills, was charged in mid-July after being arrested around 7 a.m. at his house one morning by the FBI.

Vince Russo appeared in U.S. District Court in Cleveland wearing a blue T-shirt, striped shirt and jeans. He had been in FBI custody since his arrest hours before.

He pleaded not guilty to all four charges and he was freed on $50,000 bond but his trial is scheduled for Sept. 21.

It was his father, Frank Russo, who was the only Russo who spoke to the media that day, and then it was from the driveway of his son's home.

He asked that the media be respectful of the tremendous strain and stress that the arrest was causing the family, especially Vince's pregnant wife, Shannon.

Vince Russo told the court that day that he is being treated for testicular cancer, suffers from panic attacks and chronic fatigue syndrome, and is under the care of a therapist.

Vince Russo's pregnant wife, Shannon, was among those in the courtroom. Frank Russo was not there.

Vince Russo was indicted on four federal counts, including bribery, conspiracy, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The charges stem from the FBI/IRS investigation into the Maple Heights School District.

The federal indictment says that Russo is accused  of delivering two televisions to the home of former Maple Heights School Board member Santina Klimkowski, and instructing Klimkowski to deliver one of the sets to then-Maple Heights School Treasurer Christopher D. Krause.

The televisions are said to be bribes in exchange for contracts awarded to a company that employed Russo's company, Vincore LLC. Vincore, a business development and consulting firm with offices at Burke Lakefront Airport, was among those the IRS and FBI raided on July 28, 2008.

July 28, 2008 was the day over two years ago that the secret, three-year-long corruption probe went public, as about 200 FBI and IRS agents simultaneously raided the county offices, homes and businesses of county officehoders and businessmen.

Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and Frank Russo have long been alleged to be "Public Official 1" and "Public Official 2" in a series of federal informations that have come down since the initial raids.

Until today, neither Dimora nor Russo had been named in any of the court documents and both maintained their innocence.

It was 9:15 a.m. July 28, 2008, that the IRS showed up at Vincore. Within an hour, five FBI agents also arrived.

They removed at least four boxes, a computer hard drive, some papers and at least two pieces of artwork form the Vincore offices that day.

Vince's indictment also states that, just days after federal agents searched the offices of Vincore LLC, Russo told Klimkowski to "get rid" of the televisions he had given to the Maple Heights School employees.

WKYC-TV

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