AKRON -- Informant J. Kevin Kelley witnessed work being done on Jimmy Dimora's house in Independence. The government witness testified Thursday that he saw carpenters, plumbers, and bricklayers making improvements to the then-county commissioner's residence.
"I saw them there with their tools. They were doing some work," Kelley said in his first day back on the witnesses stand after being excused since Tuesday morning because of an undisclosed illness.
He was talking about plumbers who had been sent to Jimmy Dimora's home in Independence by Rob Rybak, A top official of Plumbers Local 55 at the time. Rybak has admitted to doing favors for Dimora in hopes of landing jobs for family members and other plumbers.
Rybak is serving 27 months in federal prison for stealing from his union and tampering with a witness.
Among other things, Dimora is charged with accepting the free work in exchange for his efforts for Rybak.
"Jimmy (Dimora) was trying to secure summer jobs for Rybak's daughter and trying to get jobs for two of his other plumbers," Kelley told the court.
Kelley also testified he saw contractor Nick Zavarella building and outdoor kitchen at Dimora's house. In exchange Kelley said he got Zavarella's daughter a job in the Parma schools. Kelley was a Parma School Board member at the time.
"I contacted the superintendent and asked her to put Miss Zavarella on the payroll, which she did," Kelley said, "and the following summer I contacted her about putting Miss Zavarella on full time."
Nick Zavarella, an executive of Zavarella Brothers Construction Company, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion and is expected to serve 8 to 14 months in prison.
Kelley further testifies that he saw Steve Pumper, CEO of DAS Construction at Dimora's house, where Pumper's employees were building ceilings, and overhang, and the structure of an outdoor bathroom.
Kelley said he heard Pumper ask Dimora to forgive certain loans which Pumper was unable to pay back. Kelley testified he heard Jimmy Dimora say he would "see what he could do."
Pumper, who has admitted to doing the free work at Dimora's house, says the work was worth $60,000. He has pleaded guilty to bribery, obstruction of justice, and lying to the FBI. Pumper also admitted to giving Dimora $30,000 cash.
In one of thousands of wiretapped phone calls involving Dimora and Kelley, the two are discussing news media inquiries about a house Kelley was building on Johnson Island on Lake Erie in 2008.
Dimora says, "I use contractors who don't do anything for the county. This way I don't have no headaches. If they come back, hey, these are my contractors."
"I guess they can't make something out of nothing," Dimora says of those inquiring.