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Cuyahoga corruption probe: Ed FitzGerald says he is 'Public Official 14'

6:46 PM, Sep 15, 2010   |    comments
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Channel 3's Tom Beres caught up with FitzGerald at the Cuyahoga County Executive candidates' forum at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven today.

"Public Official 14" was referred to in the 139-page indictment of Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, 55, of Independence; Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Bridget McCafferty, 44, of Westlake; Robert Rybak, 53, of Independence; Jerry Skuhrovec, 63, of Independence; Michael Gabor, 51, of Parma; and William Neiheiser, 62, of Gates Mills.

A second indictment charged Russo's former deputy chief auditor Samir Mohammad, 44, of Cleveland.

A third indictment charged Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Steven Terry, 58, also of Cleveland.

FitzGerald is mentioned in Count 17 of the 139-page document. The indictment includes a verbatim transcript of a phone call between Dimora and "PO 14."

Dimora tells FitzGerald "I was sittin' here with a friend of mine who has been tryin' to get a hold of you and talk to you about your ice rink. He wants to make a proposal to you, uh, that he thinks will be advantageous to the city and you if, uh, you wanted to talk to him and I mention the guy's..."

FitzGerald then asks if Dimora is referring to William Neiheiser, a friend of Dimora's. Fitzgerald then tells Dimora he would "be more than happy to talk to the guy."

In the court document, FitzGerald goes on to tell Dimora to have Neiheiser call him the following morning and I'll "...make time...I'll make time to talk to him..."

FitzGerald claims the bid for the Winterhurst Ice Rink was reviewed with full, open transparency. Neiheiser won the contract and Neiheiser agreed to pay for significant improvements to the ice rink.

FitzGerald claims the City of Lakewood has not paid Neiheiser any money yet.

FitzGerald tells Beres that this will be political ammunition for his rivals but FitzGerald says he's not guilty of any wrongdoing and just took a call from Dimora, just like he takes calls from other officeholders.

Beres also spoke with Republican Cuyahoga County Executive Candidate Matt Dolan and Independent County Executive Candidate Ken Lanci at Landerhaven.

Both Dolan and Lanci believe FitzGerald's inclusion in the Dimora probe should be a cause of concern for voters.

WKYC-TV

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