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Probation Office: Dimora should get life sentence

6:39 PM, Jul 25, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- Jimmy Dimora's attorney Bill Whitaker says the sentencing recommendation from the U.S. Pretrial Services and Probation Office's Presentence Report is for a life sentence.

U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi is scheduled to sentence Dimora at 9:30 a.m. Monday in federal court in Akron

With many of the documents in this case filed under seal and not available to the public or media, learning of the office's recommendation came in Whitaker's own Sentencing Memorandum of James Dimora filed July 23.

In that 55-page filing, which was accompanied by a one-page Loss Chart, 207 pages of Ethics Reports, 54 pages of Letters, a seven-age Public Official Chart and a seven-page Related case Chart, Whitaker wrote, "The recommended sentence of Life is grossly disproportional to the seriousness of the offense as well as the need to deter others."

In contrast, the U.S. Attorney's office recommended a sentence "in excess of 22 years," while Whitaker proposed a sentence "considerably less than 22 years."

Whitaker also used examples of sentences of other Cuyahoga County corruption defendants by comparison, most notably that of former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo.

Whitaker uses Russo as an example of someone who, unlike Dimora, he asserts, "...steered over $21 million in commercial appraisal contracts to a local business in exchange for cash payments...(got) nearly $1.3 million in kickbacks...generated by that scheme...gave raises, transfers to different departments, desired work assignments and time off in exchange for cash payments and other things of value."

Russo, who pleaded guilty to 21 counts, was sentenced to 21 years and 10 months in prison. "Russo's sentence should be seen as a ceiling under which Mr. Dimora's sentence should fall far short," Whitaker wrote.

What were the sentences for some of the other county corruption defendants?

According to Whitaker, the sealed Presentence Report listed over 40 "related cases."

"Of these cases mentioned, Mr. Dimora is only involved or implicated in 14," Whitaker wrote.

Some of the examples Whitaker cited of defendants who received sentences far less than what the U.S. Attorney's office is suggesting are:

  • Former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Bridget McCafferty pleaded innocent and was found guilty on 10 counts of lying to the FBI and was sentenced to 14 months in prison, 150 hours of community service and three years of supervised release. McCafferty is scheduled to be released Sept. 17.
  • Former plumbers union official Robert Rybak pleaded guilty to bribing Dimora, stealing from the union and tampering with a witness and was sentenced to 27 months in prison, two years of supervised release, 100 hours of community service and $11,158.82 in restitution
  • Reliance Mechanical official William Neiheiser was sentenced to three years and one month in prison for bribing Dimora, then-MetroHealth Medical Center executive John J. Carroll, and George Phillips, former head of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority with a total of $40,000. He must pay $75,467.34 in restitution.
  • Former MetroHealth executive John J. Carroll pleaded guilty to six counts and was sentenced to 108 months in prison, two years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service.
  • Attorney Bruce Zaccagnini who bribed Russo and Russo's aide Santina Klimkowski to get $21 million in inflated appraisal contracts for V.A.S Enterprises received five years in prison, two years of supervised release and restitution of $3,215,845
  • Attorney Timothy Armstrong pleaded guilty to bribery like Zaccagnini and received 42 months in prison, two years supervised release and restitution of $1,573,345
  • Thomas Greco, the former construction manager for MetroHealth, pleaded innocent to 13 counts, was found guilty on all counts and was sentenced to nine years and four months in prison for his role in a bribery scheme of accepting gift cards and other favors over an eight-year period in exchange for helping East-West Construction obtain business with MetroHealth. The scheme involved Carroll and former East-West executive Nilesh Patel
  • Patel was sentenced to 42 months in prison, two years of supervised release and $628,000 in restitution.
  • Former Maple Heights school district treasurer Christopher Krause who took bribes from contractors was sentenced to 87 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

WKYC-TV

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