Cuyahoga County corruption defendant due in court Friday

10:56 PM, May 6, 2010   |    comments
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Kleem, the owner of Blaze Building Corporation and part owner of Phoenix Cement Inc., has been charged in multiple bribery schemes allegedly involving Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and Auditor Frank Russo, although Dimora and Russo are not specifically named in the April 22, 2010 court filings.

Neither Dimora nor Russo has been charged with any crime and both have denied any involvement in the ongoing probe.

It was July 28, 2008, when nearly 200 FBI and IRS agents raided county offices and businesses. The probe went public that day but officials say the probe began three years earlier.

On that same day, FBI and IRS agents raided Blaze Construction and several other of Kleem's businesses.

The first charges in the probe came down 11 months ago, on June 12, 2009, against three current or former employees of the Cuyahoga County Engineer's office -- J. Kevin Kelley, Kevin F. Payne, Daniel P. Gallagher -- and Brian Schuman, an employee of Alternatives ASgency Inc, a halfway house in Cleveland.

The four were charged in "informations," something that is done when defendants are cooperating with authorities.

In the June 12, 2009 court filings for Kelley, there are multiple references to someone known only as "BE1" as being involved in the corruption scheme.

A court filing April 22, 2010, identifies Kleem as BE1.

Kleem allegedly gave Dimora a refrigerator, a Rolex watch, and a trip to Las Vegas in April, 2008.

The alleged acts Kleem is accused of were done to help Kleem's business get public contracts, get a preferred inspector assigned to a road project, and to fix a smoking violation.


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