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IRS: Dimora's $162,541 in bribes; defense on Tuesday

7:25 PM, Feb 16, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- Starting Tuesday morning, expect the attorneys for former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former county auditor's office employee Michael Gabor to present their defense.

The prosecution, after just over five weeks of testimony, appears to have presented its last witness Thursday afternoon and is expected to rest its case Tuesday morning.

Early Thursday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi dismissed the jurors, telling them to return Tuesday morning. Court is closed Monday for the federal holiday and Lioi is only having the attorneys for both sides in court on Friday, to hear motions and deal with evidence.

After testimony Thursday morning from FBI Special Agent Christine Oliver regarding some wiretapped calls involving former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo and Gabor, Internal Revenue Service Special Agent Kelley Fatula took the witness stand.

Fatula testified that she had listened to all of the testimony throughout the entire trial and, combining the information she heard with the subpoenaed bank and tax records she already had, she testified that Dimora received $162,541.18 in bribes and fraud "things of value transactions" from 2004 through 2007 that he did not report on his tax returns those years.

Fatula, under questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Rowland, said that income or things of value received by Dimora as bribes or frauds resulted in his filing false tax returns for those years.

Dimora and his wife, Lori, filed a joint return during those years and Fatula testified that Lori Dimora had no income during those years.

Those bribe and fraud amounts -- determined as "illegal income" -- were: $31,033.63 in 2004; $17,144.82 in 2005; $15,791.09 in 2006; and $98,571.64 in 2007.

Dimora is not charged with filing a false tax return in 2008. FBI and IRS agents raided county offices, businesses and the homes of county officials on July 28, 2008. Dimora is charged with 36 counts that include bribery, filing false tax returns, racketeering and conspiracy.

Gabor, 52, of Parma is charged with bribery and conspiracy. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Rowland had Fatula refer to a chart Fatula made to show who gave Dimora what and in which year.

Fatula testified that Dimora, 56, of Independence, showed his income on IRS tax returns those years as only his annual salary as commissioner and also annual payments from his Ohio Public Employees Retirement System pension from his time as a public official -- councilman and mayor -- in Bedford Heights before he became commissioner.

In 2004, his total gross income was $157,012, with $95,424 from the county and $59,631 from his pension.

In 2005, his total gross income was $151,213, with $85,535 from the county and $63,740 from the pension.

In 2006, his total gross income was $154,550, with $87,023 from the county and $63,782 from the pension.

In 2007, his total gross income was $156,141, with $93,076 from the county and $118,591 from the pension.

In adding up the cash bribes he allegedly received and the services --including free plumbing, an outdoor patio, prostitutes, free meals and liquor, granite countertops, a refrigerator, and a plasma TV  -- Fatula said Dimora received cash or things of value totalling $162,541.18.

By year, he received $31,034 in cash or services in 2004; $17,145 in 2005; $15,791 in 2006; and $98,571.64 in 2007.

The amount increased dramatically in 2007 as that was when former D-A-S Construction President Steve Pumper, who testified two weeks ago, became more involved with doing favors and giving cash to Dimora.

Pumper testified that he gave both cash and services to Dimora. Fatula testified that Pumper gave Dimora cash or services worth $18,878.03 in 2004, $13,098.58 in 2005 and $62,324.62 in 2007.

The 2007 amount included a $30,000 cash "gift."

Fatula detailed that businessman Ferris Kleem gave Dimora a $4,000 dinner at Mallorca, a plasma TV, a refrigerator, a suite at the Mirage in Las Vegas, dinners and discounts on a Rolex, among several other items.

Fatula testified that former county engineer's office chief of staff Kevin Payne gave Dimora $14,020.18 worth of limousine service, $6,350 worth of "female entertainment" and use of a condominium in the Stonebridge complex on the West Bank of The Flats in Cleveland.

Former engineer's office employee J. Kevin Kelley gave Dimora at least $20,000 worth of meals. Businessman Bill Neiheiser ended up buying Dimora a $3,600 framed Beanie Wells jersey and miscellaneous plumbing items for Dimora's home and outdoor patio.

Harlan Diamond, head of Executive Caterers of Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights, testified that he charged the Dimora Boosters -- Dimora's political campaign fund -- for parts of the bills for Lori Dimora's 50th birthday party and their daughter Lisa's 16th birthday party and forgave the rest of the bills. That amounted to $23,780.32.

Among many other items, Pumper testified that he gave Dimora $13,098.55 worth of outdoor work one year, $18,087.03 worth of work to extend the roof from Dimora's house over an outdoor patio, the patio extension itself and outdoor kitchen for $27,224.62 and $30,000 in cash.

Fatula said Nick Zavarella, of Zavarella Brothers Construction, testified that he built a retaining wall in Dimora's back yard worth $13,404.30 and a patio for $13,477.81.

WKYC-TV

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