Dimora trial: Former Euclid mayor on the witness stand

10:39 AM, Feb 7, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- Former Euclid Mayor Paul Oyaski testified Tuesday morning about his time as director of development for Cuyahoga County.

Oyaski was the first witness to take the stand on Day 18 of the Jimmy Dimora corruption trial.

Oyaski gave testimony regarding his time spent as the director of development for Cuyahoga County, from Feb. 2004 through January 2011. Dimora was a Cuyahoga County commissioner at the time.

Oyaski testified regarding the millions of federal dollars that flowed through his development office, monies the department of development received and then, subsequently, distributed to contractors who worked on projects in the county's municipalities.

Oyaski was specifically quizzed about the City of Berea's project regarding the Coe Lake Bridge Project, a project that was awarded $150,000 in federal funds.

The project is tied to the corruption case because the construction contract was awarded to Ferris Kleem's Blaze Construction Company.

Kleem has admitted that he gave Dimora gifts, cash and thousands of dollars in gambling chips during the now-infamous Las Vegas gambling junket.

Prosecutors had Kleem testify that he gave Dimora and others gifts and favors in exchange for Dimora helping his company receive county projects.

On Jan. 18, Kleem testified that "I would expect that he would do me favors and he always did," Kleem said of Dimora, when he went to the then-Cuyahoga County commissioner for help in securing a federal grant for a bridge and nature trail project at Coe Lake in Berea.

Dimora has been indicted on 36 counts and Count 3, for bribery, is related to Kleem and his businesses pertaining to contracts for the Coe Lake Nature Trail and Bridge in Berea, the Juvenile Justice Center project, the Snow Road Project in Parma.

Count 4 of Dimora's indictment also related to Kleem and his businesses pertaining to the nature trail.

Read the entire 139-page indictment

Dimora, 56, of Independence, was also the longtime chairman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, stepping down in June, 2009.

Oyaski said he would infrequently run into Dimora. He said that he also saw Dimora at Cuyahoga County Mayors & City Managers Association meetings when Dimora was mayor of Bedford Heights and Oyaski was mayor of Euclid.

On July 28, 2008, about 200 FBI and IRS agents with search warrants fanned out across Northeast Ohio, raiding the offices and homes of county employees, elected officials, business contractors and others.

The FBI said the investigation had begun in secret in 2005 and included wiretapping of phones, compiling more than 64,000 hours of recordings.

Dimora's co-defendant in this trial, Michael Gabor, 52, of Parma, who formerly worked in then-Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo's office, is accused of bribery and conspiracy.

Prosecutors have described Gabor as a sort of a "bag man" for Dimora, acting as a go-between for delivery of cash, goods and services from contractors and businessmen. Gabor was also a frequent driver for Dimora, chauffeuring him around both while working on county time and after hours.

Gabor was assigned to the weights and measures department with the county government and was not assigned as Dimora's official driver.

Both Dimora and Gabor maintain their innocence.


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