September 16th, 2010
06:19 PM ET

Cleveland commissioner, judges indicted for corruption

Cuyahoga County commissioner Jimmy Dimora has been indicted on corruption charges.

Numerous Cleveland public officials, including two judges, have been indicted on corruption charges. Among them is an influential Cuyahoga County commissioner who is accused of a pay-to-play scam that allegedly involved call girls, a trip to Las Vegas, discounts on a Rolex watch and improvements to his home, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Find more coverage of the corruption probe on WJW

Commissioner Jimmy Dimora pleaded not guilty to the charges in court and is out on bond. The FBI used wire tapping to build its case, detailed in Dimora's 26-count indictment

For years, Dimora had headed up the local Democratic party. He has a storied history in Cleveland politics, the paper reports.

"These indictments are huge news here. It's a sad day for people in Cuyahoga County which is one of the poorest places in the country," said Catherine Turcer of the government watchdog group Ohio Citizen Action. She directs the group's Money in Politics project.  

Also Thursday, Former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo pleaded guilty to 21 counts stemming from the same corruption investigation that targeted Dimora, the paper reported.

Russo faces 21 years and 10 months in prison when he is sentenced in December on 21 corruption-related counts, including bribery, obstruction of justice and tax fraud.

Russo, who had been auditor from 1997 until he resigned last week after he was indicted, admitted to several corrupt schemes, including one that netted him $1.2 million in kickbacks over 10 years for steering contracts to a commercial appraisal company.

The plea deal also stipulates that Russo will not have to testify against other targets in the ongoing county corruption probe.

This year, Forbes magazine ranked Cleveland number 1 on its annual "America's Most Miserable Cities" list due to the area's high unemployment, high taxes and other factors.

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soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    Corruption in government officials, is everywhere, from the WH to the village.

    September 16, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DirtyBob

    Whoever is heading the investigation needs to work every city in the country. Sounds like they actually get the job done for once.

    September 16, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jason

    Article fails to mention that every single one of the indicted officials is an elected Democrat. Not a one is a Republican. It's going to be at least 40 indictments.

    September 16, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      the sad truth is that there hasn't been an elected Republican in Cuyahoga Gov for over 50 years. it is a Dem machine. The Dems have all these poor souls believing that they are their only hope when in fact it is their oppresive taxes and policies that keep the poor right where they are which in turn keeps these crooks in power. When Republican mayor Voinavich tried to lure business back into the area with tax breaks he was always shot down by the Dems. So of course these business went elsewhere and enriched other cities while this area continues to decay.

      September 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. philipe12

    Jason, do you really mean to imply that having an (R) tagged to your name says anything about you? Do you really think that (R) somehow means honest? Can you not see that both (D) and (R) can onlu thrive when people actually believe what YOU imply? Both parties are corrupt beyond repair. You cannot see this simple logic?

    September 16, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. phil

    JASON, as if both D. and R. parties......... aren't corrupt. Get a clue.

    September 16, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chip p

    sad day for cuy county? id say this is pretty good news.

    September 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mn

    The mistake by the lake

    September 16, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sherette

    this is great we knew the money was going somewhere how can cleveland have all those professional teams and still be poor. don't think that the republicans have not prospered. the difference is they are targeting dems, and when money is being spread around no one stops to ask what is your political affiliation.

    September 16, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. peyoyangwifewing

    same thing happened in youngstown ohio last month. not too far away. all of northeast ohio is ruled by the corrupt dems. not one republican in youngstown was indicted either.

    September 16, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jj3down

    I'm from Cleveland. Jimmy Dimora is claiming that this is all a Republican witchhunt. Take it from me, there are no Republican politicians left in Cleveland... very few left in the county. Dems and Reps are essentially the same... two sides of the same coin. But there needs to be checks and balances between them.

    When one political party is allowed to run an entire county for 40 years, everyone in power is either a friend or family member of someone else and they are all in each others back pocket. The political propaganda machine effectively makes us believe that one of these parties is more or less aligned with our core values, but the only difference between these alliances of scam artists are the group of friends they plan to hire when they're elected and how large we allow their webs to become thereafter. The web of Democratic rule in Cuyahoga County was allowed to get completely out of control. Now witness the results...

    September 16, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. honest abe

    Its about time that some of the mass corruption here in the U.S. is sniffed out...its everywhere ppl...from small mid-west towns(ecspecially) to big cities...our eyes have been closed for way to long..and ppl wonder why our country is in such trouble..OPEN Your Eyes its everywhere..what a shame...what happened to honor and honesty...i dont trust a single one of them..time for a total cleanout...start with Obama...what a joke our system has become...no wonder the rest of the world hates us...its embarrassing

    September 16, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cynthia*

    I feel sorry for Cleveland. It deserves better!

    September 16, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Coach Lew

    This is close to the last straw. These butt holes should be paraded downtown Cleveland in their shorts and give everyone a chance to either throw boiling water, stones, rotten eggs on them, plus give a few thousand whips and make them bend their butts over and take a good old fashion behind the woodshed beating. After that then take them to trial and make them stand for the entire trial including any appeals etc. This has gone tooooo far.

    September 16, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Coach Lew

    I read a lot of comments and the Dems and Reps seem to be running neck and neck for being the bad guys. I agree 100%, there are no more good politicians in this country because they are either gangsters or lawyers. I propose deeper background checks and a literal barring of any lawyer to run for public office. This is disgracing our country more than any atrocities committed by military in all the wars we've been involved.

    September 16, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ohio voter

    the democratic nominee for County Executive, a former FBI agent, is also implicated. He apparently steered a lucrative ice rink contract to a Dimora friend, based upon Dimora's urging.
    Of course, he denies he did anything wrong, but this bodes poorly for not only his election, but the entire Democratic statewide ticket.

    September 16, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
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