Jimmy Dimora trial: Attorney tries to separate 'gifts' from county projects

6:46 PM, Jan 17, 2012   |    comments
  • Artist: Bob Novak
  • Artist: Bob Novak
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AKRON -- One of Jimmy Dimora's lawyers questioned an FBI agent who set up wiretaps and did surveillance on Dimora. Of the 44,000 taped phone conversations admitted into evidence, 16,000 involved Dimora.

Jimmy Dimora trial expanded coverage

Attorney Bill Whitaker spent about two hours cross-examining agent Michael Massie. Many of Whitaker's questions were objected to by government prosecutors.

Judge Sara Lioi upheld most of the objections and, at one point, admonished Whitaker, saying, "Why don't you just focus in on the facts?"

Whitaker was trying to cast doubt on government allegations that Dimora took gifts and favors in exchange for his power, influence, and votes as Cuyahoga County commissioner.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Rowland had questioned Massie about gifts Dimora received from Cleveland businessman Ferris Kleem, who has already pleaded guilty to bribery-related charges and will testify against Dimora.

In November, 2006, Dimora received a side-by-side refrigerator valued at $1,150 dollars. Kleem paid for the appliance which was bought at hh gregg.

In December, 2006 Dimora bought a Rolex watch at a Strongsville jeweler. He paid $2,000 in cash and the balance of just over $3,000 went on Dimora's Discover card.

Kleem had previously admitted giving Dimora $2,000 cash to be used on a Rolex.

In February, 2007 Dimora voted to award a $150,000 HUD grant to Berea for construction of a pedestrian walkway. Kleem, whose construction companies were based in Berea, had pushed for the project.

In April, 2008, Kleem had a flat screen TV worth $1,099 delivered to Dimora's home in Independence. The gift coincided with the trip Dimora, Kleem, and others made to Las Vegas that month.

In May, 2008, Kleem's company, Blaze Construction, was awarded a $2.8 million contract to pave Snow Road. Dimora voted for the contract. Whitaker, pointed out that Kleem was the low bidder on the Snow Road project.

About three weeks later Dimora contacted Kleem about buying another Rolex. Jurors saw a receipt which listed Lori Dimora as the purchaser. The watch was to be a graduation gift for a relative.


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