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Dimora gets campaign cash, icemaker from union official

7:16 PM, Jan 26, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- A union official is heard "bribing" Jimmy Dimora with favors, like meals, political campaign contributions and home improvements,  to get Dimora to OK a raise for the official's wife.

Testimony Thursday afternoon saw FBI Agent Kirk Spielmaker going through multiple wiretapped phone calls between then-plumber's union business manager Robert Rybak and then-Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora as they discuss how to get Rybak's wife, Linda, an employee in the county's human resources department, a raise.

Rybak, 54, is already in federal prison in West Virginia, serving a 27-month sentence for bribery, tampering with a witness and using union plumbers to work on the outdoor pool house at Dimora's Independence home for free.

Rybak pleaded guilty to all charges and went to prison in January 2011.

Rybak admitted having a gas line line installed for Dimora's outdoor pool heater, worked on plumbing fixtures in an outdoor bathroom, and winterizing the ice machine at Dimora's outdoor pool house.

Rybak also spent $2,500 on the International Plumbers Union Local 55 credit card to entertain and feed Dimora and Dimora's friends.

At Rybak's suggestion, court records show, the union also gave multiple political contributions to the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, the Dimora Boosters and the Friends of Frank Russo, all groups associated with political campaigns.

At the time, Dimora was also the chairman of the county party. Dimora stepped down in June, 2009, and was first charged in the county corruption probe on Sept. 15, 2010. He maintains his innocence. 

The union made the contributions -- a total of $5,725 in 2003-2004 -- through COPE, the Committee on Political Education, the fund that Local 55 uses to make political contributions, according to Spielmaker.


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