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County Corruption: Who's in, who's out of federal prison

1:11 AM, Mar 5, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- As the jury deliberated Friday in the trial of former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and county auditor employee Michael Gabor, one of the other defendants in the Cuyahoga County corruption probe walked out of federal prison.

Joseph P. O'Malley, attorney and former employee of Auditor Frank Russo, finished serving his four-month sentence in federal prison in Yankton, South Dakota.

O'Malley, 45, of Westlake, was sentenced for lying to FBI agents about Russo's intervention in court cases that involved his clients.

He asked to serve his sentence in Yankton because he "feared for his safety" if put in Morgantown federal prison where nearly all of the other defendants were serving their sentences.

Court and prison records show that 14 other defendants are awaiting sentencing, eight have received probation at their sentencings, and four are awaiting future trials.

Former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo has been sentenced to 21 years and 10 months but remains free as he testifies against other defendants and hopes to reduce his sentence by cooperating with federal prosecutors.

Related: County Corruption: Who's in trial, awaiting, awaiting sentencing 

But who else is serving time in Morgantown, West Virginia, and other federal prisons, who is getting out soon, and who is out already?

The corruption probe went public July 28, 2008, when 200 FBI and IRS agents raided county offices, business and homes of elected officials. The first original indictments came down June 12, 2009, and the latest came down Sept. 22, 2011.

Dimora's reaction to his arrest

We broke down the lists in the order of their indictments, from first to latest.

Already released from prison

Dinesh Bafna, 47, president of Mont Granite who bribed MetroHealth Medical Center construction manager Thomas Greco and his boss, John J. Carroll, for business. Released Aug. 2, 2011, and was released after serving 6 months

Rocky Laurie, 55, of Mayfield Heights, the Maple Heights City Schools food manager who failed to report a crime and lied to the FBI about using district money to buy food and other items for school treasurer Christopher Krause and board member Sandy Klimkowski, and was released Aug. 5, 2011 after serving 6 months

Shannon Riley, 47, the owner of Riley Industrial Services who paid $30,000 in kickbacks to Krause and others in exchange for $306,936 in contracts from the schools and was released Dec. 22, 2011 after serving 12 months

Being released from prison later in 2012

Steven Canepa, 45, the Maple Heights City Schools business manager who accepted things of value from contractor Todd Ozanich in return for using his position to help Ozanich and will be released March 27 from Cincinnati after serving 12 months in prison

Steve Tomasone, 54, the owner/president of Southwest Companies who paid bribes to Maple Heights school officials to obtain work, and will be released from McKean May 19 after 12 months in prison

Vincent Russo, 32, of Willoughby Hills, the owner of VinCore and son of Frank Russo who bribed Maple Heights school officials in exchange for their influence in helping 1-888-OHIOCOMP maintain a contract with the district, and wil be released from Elkton June 13 after serving 18 months

Giacinto Vaccarella, 54, the Maple Heights schools buildings and ground director who delivered bribes from Riley to Christopher Krause and also received money from the sale of a schools-owned construction jack sold at auction, and will be released Sept. 6 from the NE Ohio Correctional Center after serving 18 months

Bridget McCafferty, 45, the former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge who lied to the FBI about unethical talks with county officials and with D-A-S Construction owner Steve Pumper who had a case on her docket, and will be released Sept. 17 from Alderson after serving 14 months

Dennis Dooley, 59, the chief assistant in Russo's office who paid a $5,000 bribe for a better-paying job with the Cleveland Metroparks, and who will be released from Morgantown Oct. 3 after serving 27 months

Defendants still in prison

John J. Carroll, 65, of Aurora, VP of facilities and construction services at MetroHealth Medical Center for accepting multiple bribes like exotic vacations, home improvements, loge seats and golf outings from contractors who performed about $92 million of hospital work; was sentenced to 108 months in Hazelton and is scheduled to be released Jan. 29, 2019.

Nilesh Patel, 45, VP of East-West Construction who bribed Carroll for $51 million in hospital business and was sentenced to 42 months in Morgantown  and is scheduled to be released Oct. 30, 2013

Timothy Armstrong, 67, an attorney with Armstrong, Mitchell, Damiani and Zaccagnini who helped run the property appraisal company V.A.S., and was in a conspiracy with his law partners in bribing Frank Russo and was sentenced to 42 months in Manchester and is scheduled to be released April 18, 2013

Bruce Zaccagnini, 51, a lawyer with Armstrong's law firm who helped pass $1.3 million in bribes to Frank Russo and Russo's aide Santina "Sandy" Klimkowski, in exchange for appraisal contracts for V.A.S. Enterprises, and who was sentenced to 5 years at Morgantown and is scheduled to be released Aug. 19, 2014

Thomas Greco, 57, the construction manager at MetroHealth Medical Center for accepting bribes in exchange for helping East-West Construction obtain $51 million in business, and is serving 112 months in Morgantown and is scheduled to be released May 22, 2019

Christopher Krause, 54, the Maple Heights schools treasurer who took more than $50,000 in cash bribes and gifts from contractors doing business with the schools, accepted a TV from Vincent Russo, and was sentenced to 87 months in Morgantown and is scheduled to be released Dec. 8, 2017

Daniel Weaver, 44, of Westlake, the director of the county's Information Services Center who paid $10,000 and other items to Frank Russo to get a better job and was sentenced to 3 years in Morgantown and is scheduled to be released July 24, 2013

Steven Terry, 53, the former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge who fixed a court case for Frank Russo, did campaign work with court employees on county time and, according to U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi, perjured himself on the witness stand, was sentenced to 63 months in Milan and is scheduled to be released June 4, 2016

Robert Rybak, 54, the business manager for Journeymen Plumbers Union Local 55 who did favors for Dimora in exchange for Dimora using his influence to get a pay raise for Rybak's wife, Linda, and union plumbers, and was sentenced to 27 months in Hazelton and is scheduled for release on Feb. 23, 2013

Bill Neiheiser, 63, the president/CEO of Reliance Mechanical who bribed public officials for contracts, as well as gave Carroll $25,000 in cash and gifts in exchange for bid-rigging assistance and more than $27 million in contracts at MetroHealth, and was sentenced to 37 months in Morgantown and is scheduled to be released Aug. 3, 2013

Ron Romanini, 61, a roofing contractor who paid bribes to Frank Russo and did roofing work for him in exchange for helping a relative who worked for Russo get pay raises, was sentenced tp 41 months in Morgantown and is scheduled to be released on July 24, 2014

William Mitchell Jr, 63, a partner in Armstrong's law firm that helped run V.A.S.which got $21.4 million in county contracts, but performed only a fraction of the work, was sentenced to 97 months in Loretto and is scheduled to be released JUly 9, 2018

Patrick Coyne, 53, a former Strongsville City Councilman, former employee at the then-county cororner's office and a county Democratic Party longtimer, who took thousands of dollars in bribes from a developer and tricked an investor into giving him $32,000 in a phony Krispy Kreme doughnut shop deal and was sentenced to 57 months in Morgantown and is scheduled to be released Nov. 14, 2015


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