County corruption defendants get probation sentences

4:29 PM, May 4, 2012   |    comments
  • Jerry Skuhrovec
  • John Valentin
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AKRON -- Two Cuyahoga County corruption defendants who testified against former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora earlier this year have received years of probation instead of prison sentences.

Just after noon Friday, U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi sentenced Jerry Skuhrovec, 63, of Independence, to five years of probation, and 14 months of home confinement with electronic monitoring.

Skuhrovec must also pay a forfeiture in the amount of $46,000.00, $34,000.00 which has already been paid, and the remaining amount of $12,000.00 to be paid within 14 days of the court's judgment.

An hour later, Lioi sentenced John Valentin, 64, to two years probation, seven months of home confinement with electronic monitoring, $8,116.53 in restitution and a $1,000 fine.

Lioi also sentenced Valentin to 350 hours of community service.

Skuhrovec, a former county employee, pleaded guilty Feb. 2, 2011 to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and lying to the FBI.

He faced a sentence of 24-30 months in prison. However, the testimony he provided, as well as an undisclosed medical condition that has details filed under seal, may have factored into the reduction in his sentence.

Skuhrovec was a part-time senior office assistant in former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo's office but got a second job as an appraiser in the sheriff's office with help from Dimora and Russo.

In return, Skuhrovec admitted providing entertainment and other favors, including fund-raising help for Russo's brother, Cuyahoga County Probate Judge Anthony Russo.

In his plea agreement, Skuhrovec said he told Russo about a house he appraised on Chagrin River Road that might sell for $180,000 to $190,000. He did so thinking the house might be a good fit for Russo's son, Vince, if he planned to move closer to his father. Skuhrovec also admitted that he lied to investigators when he said he never hosted a fundraiser for Anthony Russo and that he never discussed his real estate appraisals with Dimora, Russo or any other public official.

Valentin had asked for help from Dimora in getting a visa for a friend.

Valentin is the owner of Salva Stone Design and was charged Nov. 20, 2009, pleaded guilty Dec. 16, 2009 and testified agianst Dimora.

Valentin admitted providing $3,250 in home improvements, including granite countertops, to Dimora in exchange for Dimora helping Valentin's friend obtain a visa.

Dimora did not pay for the granite Valentin provided and only after Dimora learned he was under investigation did his wife Lori call Valentin, seeking his mailing address, according to Valentin's plea. Dimora then wrote Valentin a check for $250.

Federal prosecutors also say that a friend and a relative of Valentin were hired in the Auditor's office by Russo in exchange for favors. Valentin faced four to 10 months in prison and/or house arrest.


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