Cuyahoga County: Bedford Hts. businessman to plead guilty in corruption case

3:49 AM, Feb 25, 2010   |    comments
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Solon resident Nicholas A. Zavarella, 59, of the Zavarella Brothers Construction company, is accused of doing about $25,000 worth of free masonry work at the home of Public Official 1, according to the court documents filed.

PO1 is widely regarded as Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, although Dimora has not been charged and he has denied any wrongdoing.

Zavarella is charged with one count of bribery. A "bill of information" is filed when the defendant is cooperating with authorities. His lawyer, William "Bud" Doyle says Zavarella will plead guilty to the charge and cooperate with authorities.

Federal officials say that in exchange for building a retaining wall around a pool, a job valued at between $10,000 and $13,000, and for masonry columns valued at $5,000, and for $10,000 worth of brickwork, PO1 helped Zavarella's relative obtain both a county job and two teaching jobs.

The two teaching jobs were first as a substitute teacher and then as a full-time job.

Zavarella is the 18th person charged in connection with the Cuyahoga County corruption probe by the FBI and IRS.

His attorney issued the following statement to WKYC:

"Nicholas Zavarella got caught up in a very personal freindship and exercised bad judgment. He is a fine family man and an outstanding businessman."

Dimora's attorney, Dick Lillie, says writing a reference letter is not a bribe. Lillie told WKYC, "If writing a reference letter is a bribe, then every elected official in America would be indicted."

WKYC reported as far back as January, 2009 that Dimora kept a long list of people to whom he gave job references. The list at the time numbered about 1,000, and Dimora said then, "When someone calls our office, whoever it is, we try to make a referral to help them get a job."

The county corruption probe began July 18, 2008, when 175 FBI and IRS agents simultaneously raided Cuyahoga County offices and homes of officials.


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