County Corruption: In trial, awaiting trial, awaiting sentence

1:11 AM, Mar 5, 2012   |    comments
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By the numbers in the Cuyahoga County corruption probe, 2 await their verdicts right now, 5 await trial, 14 are still to be sentenced, 4 are already out of prison, 19 are still in prison, and 2 have died.

After deliberating for 10 hours over Thursday and Friday, the seven-man, five-woman jury in the trial of former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former county auditor's office employee Michael Gabor continue deliberations Monday.

Dimora and former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo were the main targets of the probe.

Russo, 62, of Bratenahl, has already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to 21 years and 10 months in prison but is cooperating with prosecutors and remains free while he testifies against other defendants.

He has already testified against former judges Bridget McCafferty and Steven Terry, in addition to Dimora and Gabor, and is to testify against the four other defendants who await trial.

Related: Who is in prison and who has been released

Dimora, 56, of Independence, is facing 34 charges including bribery, conspiracy and racketeering. Gabor, 52, of Parma, faces 8 charges, including bribery and racketeering.

Awaiting trial

Samir Mohammad, 45, a former deputy auditor in Russo's office, and Hamdi "Sam" Qasem, 56, a former prominent businessman, are charged with racketeering and bribery and their trial is scheduled to begin June 8.

Qasem's attorney has asked for a continuance but U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi has yet to rule on that motion.

Attorney Anthony Calabrese III, 39, of Chagrin Falls, the son of former judge Anthony Calabrese Jr, and Sanford Prudhoff, 68, of Lorain, the former community development director in Lorain, are charged with conspiracy, bribery, fraud and tampering, are scheduled for trial on Sept. 5.

Michael Forlani, 55, of Gates Mills, awaits trial with Dimora as his co-defendant. The trial date is on hold until a verdict is reached in Dimora's current trial. Forlani, president of Doan Pyramid Electric in Bedford Heights, is charged with 18 counts of racketeering, bribery and mail fraud.

Dimora was also charged with more racketeering charges when the indictment with Forlani was handed down Oct. 21, 2011. Prosecutors have yet to decide if they will pursue more charges for Dimora and are awaiting th eoutcome of his current trial.

Awaiting sentencing (in order of their indictments)

J. Kevin Kelley, 42, is the former Geographic Information Systems project manager in the Cuyahoga County Engineer's Office and former president of the Parma City School District Board of Education. He testified against Dimora and Gabor and was charged with 9 counts of bribery and one count of fraud for his activities as either a county employee or during his term as president of the school board.

Kelley was the first defendant charged and the first to plead guilty.

Daniel Gallagher, 61, the former chief of staff in the Cuyahoga County Engineer's office, was charged with bribery and conspiracy.

Gallagher testified extensively at Dimora's trial.

Brian Schuman, 35, of Bedford, the former co-director of the Alternatives Agency in Cleveland, was charged with bribery. He testified against Dimora and Gabor.

Steve Pumper, 46, was the CEO of D-A-S Construction and was charged with 9 counts that include conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to obstruct justice and mail fraud. He testified at the Dimora trial.

Anthony Sinagra, 71, the former state senator and former Lakewood mayor, pleaded quilty to bribing Kelley in exchange for consulting work from the school district. He also admitted taking $190,000 in fees for no work from Alternatives Agency.

Santina "Sandy" Klimkowski, 60, the former chief deputy to Russo and former Maple Heights school board member, was charged with accepting bribes in her job at the auditor's office and in exchange for Maple Heights school district contracts.

Klimkowski, of Maple Heights, has admitted funneling more than $1 million in bribes from lawyers to Russo, in exchange for Russo hiring VAS, a commercial appraisal firm. Klimkowski also accepted a cut of more than $150,000 from those bribes, according to her plea.

Klimkowski also accepted free home improvements on her home and the homes of relatives from Pumper in return for $458,000 in Maple Heights school contracts, according to her plea. Klimkowski also admitted using school money to buy items for personal use.

Joseph Gallucci, 44, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery for running a sham election campaign against Russo and then being hired by Russo in exchange.

Nicholas Zavarrella, 62, of Solon, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion and to bribing Dimora to help his daughter get a county job and then a teaching job in the Bedford City School District. He testified at the Dimora trial.

Ferris Kleem, 53, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery. He was on the stand for two days to testify against Dimora and Gabor.

He testified that he had bribed Dimora and others to win contracts for his Blaze Construction Company, paid for the now-infamous Dimora/Russo/Pumper/Kelley Las Vegas trip and for a prostitute there for Dimora, gave money to Dimora to gamble with, and gave Dimora a refrigerator and a wide-screen TV.

Jerry Skuhrovec, 64, of Independence, was a part-time senior office assistant in Russo's office and got a second job as an appraiser in the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's office under former Sheriff Gerald T. McFaul with help from Dimora and Russo. In return, Skuhrovec provided entertainment and other favors and has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery.

Harlan Diamond, 77, of Bratenahl, was charged with mail fraud after he agreed to bill Dimora's political campaign fund for charges Dimora incurred for his wife Lori's 50th birthday party at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights. Diamond testified at Dimora's trial. He testified at the Dimora trial.

Charles Randazzo, 63, of Solon, admitted he provided gifts to Dimora and Russo in exchange for their help getting county business for his Twinsburg-based company, Financial Network of America, which helps county employees invest their deferred compensation. He testified in Dimora's trial.

Anthony Melaragno, 56, admitted he bribed Dimora with about $5,000 worth of home improvements in exchange for more than $10 million in road contracts awarded by Cuyahoga County Commissioners to his Vandra Brothers Company.

Pleaded guilty but now deceased

Kevin Payne, 55, the retired chief of staff at Cuyahoga County Engineer's office, died Nov. 21, 2010. Payne pleaded guilty to bribery-related charges.

Payne also admitted lobbying Dimora to approve a nearly $4 million lease for the county engineer's office at the Stonebridge development in the West Bank of the Flats. Payne also said he sought the commissioner's help related to personnel matters at the county Sanitary Engineer's Office between 2005 and 2008.

Payne gave Dimora and his family free limousine service, provided Dimora and his friends access to a condominium at Stonebridge that was loaned to Payne by the development, which is owned by K&D Group and Payne also paid for prostitutes to entertain Dimora.

Anthony Ma, 75, of Moreland Hills, owner of Broma Information Technology, pleaded guilty in federal court on Aug. 2, 2010 to bribing county officials in return for two contracts. His company received a document-imaging contract from a job headed by Kelley, and a part of a payroll-related subcontract of a computer mapping pact.

In return, Ma promised about $175,000 in kickbacks to county employees. Ma suffered a stroke and slipped into a coma on Nov. 4, 2010, and died Nov. 5, 2010, in Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights.

Sentenced to probation

Todd Gemma, 42, of Solon, of the Solon-based Gemma Development Group, charged May 26,2010, charged with one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.

Ken Kushmider, 52, of Hudson, sole owner of Landscape Design Associates, was charged with one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.

Todd Ozanich, 50, of Bainbridge, owner of Imperial Heating and Cooling, with three counts of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.

Ronald Monroe, 44, of Macedonia, of the Gemma Development Group, was charged with one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.

Bryan Carlton, 45, of North Olmsted, of the Gemma Development Group, was charged with one count of bribery

Joseph Bibbo, 58 of Gates Mills, owner of Midwest Paving, admitted paying $17,500 in bribes in exchange for business with the Maple Heights School District. He is ill with hepatitisC following a liver transplant and was spared prison.

Charles Edwards, 44, of Mantua, owner of C. Edwards Landscaping, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, one count of Hobbs Act violation, and one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.

David Terry, 70, a Hinckley real estate developer, was charged with bribing Strongsville Councilman Patrick Coyne with $20,000 in 2008.


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