County corruption: Feds indict Westlake attorney for bribes in probe

3:50 PM, Nov 23, 2010   |    comments
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According to court documents and federal officials, Mitchell is accused of taking part in a bribery conspiracy that caused millions of dollars in losses to Cuyahoga County over more than a decade.

Those he conspired with include former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo, former auditor employee Santina Klimkowski and his former law partners, according to the indictment.

Mitchell was part of a group that paid more than $1.1 million in cash bribes and kickbacks to Russo, sometimes through Klimkowski, in return for contracts worth $21.4 million related to commercial real estate appraisals, according to the indictment.

Mitchell is being arraigned today (Tuesday) at 3 p.m. in federal court.

Mitchell, a licensed attorney, was one of four partners in the law firm of Armstrong, Mitchell, Damiani and Zaccagnini.

Federal officials said that from 1997 through May 2009, Mitchell conspired to bribe programs receiving federal funds, according to the indictment.

The charges include one count each of: conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds; bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and Hobbs Act conspiracy.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary D. Arbeznik, following investigation by the Cleveland office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.


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