Dimora witness says Dimora, Russo did 'favors' for work

9:40 PM, Feb 9, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- There has been a lot of damaging testimony this week against Jimmy Dimora in his corruption trial in Akron.

But today, prosecutors brought in several witnesses from businesses who performed work for free at Dimora's house.

In afternoon testimony, this time it was more than $3,000 worth of free granite countertops in Dimora's kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor patio.

The man who provided the free work and materials, John Valentin, 64, said he was expecting future favors from Dimora, and that he got them when Dimora tried to help Valentin's friend get a visa to come to the United States.

Valentin, the owner of Salva Stone Designs and who is from Romania, realized he'd made a mistake.

Valentin was  charged on Nov. 20, 2009, with bribery and he pleaded guilty in December 2009 and will likely get probation.

Dimora defense attorney Bill Whitaker got Valentin to admit that Dimora gave him two cases of red wine after the granite countertops were installed at Dimora's home and that Dimora also gave Valentin's workers money when they were done.

One worker got $450 from Dimora. Valentin said he learned about that after the men were back at the company. Valentin said he paid his workers for their work that day himself as usual.

Valentin's friend never did get that visa.

At the end of his testimony, Valentin said that then-Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo did him a favor, too, at the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office.

Valentin said Russo set up an interview for his daughter with a person he called "the chief prosecutor of Cuyahoga County." Then Valentin's daughter got hired there as a Juvenile Court Prosecutor.

Valentin said he had installed granite countertops at Russo's house as well and was never paid.


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