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Dimora trial: Revisiting the 'Dimora special'

3:58 PM, Feb 23, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- Two former Cuyahoga County department directors took the stand as witnesses for the defense Thursday, called by former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora's defense attorneys.

So far, seven witnesses have testified in Jimmy Dimora's defense. The trial continues Friday morning.

One witness who showed up late Wednesday and was expected to take the stand Thursday did not take the stand. Paul Nick, the executive director for the Ohio Ethics Commission, showed up Wednesday after the jury had been dismissed for the day.

Nick was also outside the courtroom Thursday morning but was never called to testify and no explanation was given as to why he was not called.

The seventh witness, Tracey Nichols, was asked by prosecutors about "the Dimora special."

Nichols, who went to work for the City of Cleveland as its director of development in February 2008 and is employed there now, served as Cuyahoga County's assistant director for Economic Development, from 2004 through 2008.

Nichols was testifying about loans the county gave out.

Nichols said she didn't recall using that terminology "but if I did, I did so sarcastically."

"The Dimora special" was first mentioned on Feb. 7, when former D-A-S President Steven Wayne Pumper took the witness stand as a prosecution witness.

Pumper, 47, resigned from the Garfield Heights-based company in April, 2009, then pleaded guilty in July, 2010 to nine corruption-related crimes, including bribery, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI.

In his extensive testimony, Pumper talked about a "Dimora special." He said he was referring to the "best deal on a loan that the county could give."

The sixth defense witness who took the stand first thing Thursday morning was Adrian Maldonado, the former Cuyahoga County procurement director.

He described the county's system of awarding contracts as done "by the book" and always followed the Bible, saying the county's "Bible is the Ohio Revised Code" when it comes to seeking contracts for construction projects.

Maldonado, who answered to the county administrator, said the department had a list of 400 to 500 registered vendors to provide work for the county.

When asked if Dimora had contacted him about the bids for the Juvenile Justice Center, he said Dimora or "someone from Dimora's office" called and inquired about the status of a general trades contract for the JJC. That "someone" was later identified as Dimora's administrative assistant Patrick Smock.

Maldonado was asked to check out Pumper's other company Green-Source as a possible vendor for the JJC.

He testified that he did not feel pressured into having a meeting with Pumper regarding Green-Source.

Maldonado said he also knew nothing about co-defendant Michael Gabor negotiating a contract to work for Green-Source and, as Pumper testified, that Dimora would be getting a kickback from Gabor's salary.


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