Dimora, businessman charged in latest corruption

9:38 AM, Oct 21, 2011   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora was charged in another corruption indictment Friday morning, this time involving the head of an electrical contracting firm, U.S. attorneys said.  

Michael Forlani, 54, of Gates Mills, president of Doan Pyramid Electric in Bedford Heights, was arrested Friday morning at his home and charged with 18 counts, including racketeering, bribery and mail fraud charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Forlani appeared in U.S. District Court at 11 a.m. Friday, pleaded not guilty, surrenedered his passport and was released on $20,000 bond.

The new charges involve the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center project, RTA and other agencies.

Dimora, 56, of Independence, who is already scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 4, is expected to be involved in a second trial after the first is completed.

If convicted of racketeeting, he could spend more than 20 years in prison.

Dimora is represented by attorney William Whitaker and Forlani is represented by attorneys Gerald S. Gold, of Cleveland, and Dan Webb, of Chicago.

Dimora, who is already facing a number of corruption charges, was not arrested again and is not facing any more racketeering charges.

Beginning in 2002, Forlani sought to expand his business by bribing a number of public officials, including Dimora, former Cleveland City Councilwoman Sabra Pierce Scott, former Parma School Board Member and top county Engineer's Office aide J. Kevin Kelley, and MetroHealth Medical Center executive John J. Carroll, according to the indictment.

Related: Former councilwoman admits guilt in Cuyahoga corruption probe

In return, they agreed to use their connections to award Forlani public contracts, loans and grants, as well as expedite work, the indictment noted. The contracts totaled millions of dollars.  

The charges say that Dimora received free and discounted home improvements from Doan and other companies associated with Forlani. They included an outdoor television and indoor audio-visual system valued at $12,578.  

Federal agents raided the offices of Doan Pyramid Electric in Bedford Heights on July 28, 2008, when the FBI/ATF investigation first went public.


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