County corruption: Twinsburg financier charged in probe

3:08 PM, Mar 28, 2011   |    comments
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CLEVELAND - Federal prosecutors have charged Charles J. Randazzo, of Solon, with conspiracy to land retirement planning business with Cuyahoga County.

Randazzo, 62, the president and CEO of Twinsburg-based Financial Network of America, was charged with allegedly giving favors to public officials in exchange for the county's business.

The charges were filed as an information, which usually means the defendant is cooperating with authorities through a plea deal.

They allege he bribed former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo in June, 2004, by giving them $1,079.14 toward the purchase of fake palm trees for their back yards.

Dimora used his money to buy a tiki hut for his back yard instead, the information states.

Randazzo, who founded FNA in 1973, also gave Dimora food, wine and sports tickets for himself and friends.

Then, according to prosecutors, Dimora and the other two county commissioners voted in favor to select FNA as a deferred compensation provider for the county on August 11, 2004.

According to the filing, FNA's business with the county was suspended in October, 2005 due to having six financial options within one payroll slot. But then in 2006, the county entered into another contract with FNA.

The court filing said Randazzo asked Dimora to introduce him to other public employees who could assist FNA in securing other public contracts, which Dimora allegedly did.

Russo, 61, and Dimora, 56, were the prime targets of FBI and IRS agents in the widespread Cuyahoga County corruption probe that went public July 28, 2008.

Dimora left office in January, 2011 when the new county reform government took over. On Sept. 14, 2010, he was charged with 26 counts in the probe and pleaded not guilty.

He has maintained his innocence and is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 12.

Russo was charged with 21 counts, resigned as auditor, and pleaded guilty last fall. He has been cooperating with authorities and faces nearly 22 years in prison.


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