Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dimora returns to work, says he's taken his case to Congress

Jimmy Dimora returned to work today, participated in most of the county commissioners' meeting, and told reporters later that he has written to Congress, asking it to investigate the investigation of him.

His comments, at a press conference late this morning, were mostly a tamer version of his dramatic statements two weeks ago, when he accused several local figures and entities of conspiring against him.

Today, Dimora said he and his lawyer sent a letter on Friday or Monday to the House Judiciary Committee, asking for an investigation into whether the U.S. Attorney's office was investigating him for politically biased reasons. He distributed copies of this 2008 report by the Judiciary Committee, which examines allegations of selective prosecution of Democrats in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and other states.

Dimora said he would not take a leave of absence, as Hagan and Jones called on him to do last week. However, he did absent himself from one vote today, Jones and Hagan's decision to ask voters to create a charter review commission. Dimora said he did not want that proposal to be attacked as his idea instead of Jones'. "I had nothing to do with it," he said.

Dimora acknowledged that contractor Steve Pumper, charged with bribery conspiracy in federal court last week, is a friend and neighbor of his. Dimora reiterated his innocence and accused his former associates facing federal charges of lying about him in exchange for lighter sentences.

"People in trouble have done some serious things," he said. "I haven't. I have done nothing wrong." He said his former friends were receiving "less jail time if they tell a good story."

Dimora insisted that the county acted fairly and impartially when it took some of the actions mentioned in last week's charges against Pumper, such as a loan for Pumper's company GreenSource and a real estate deal Pumper allegedly called Dimora to try to advance. Stung by accusations that the county had become a patronage hiring hall under his watch, Dimora noted he proposed and implemented a buyout that shrank the size of the county staff: "There are 2,000 less employees today than when [I] started."

Dimora's press conference, in the office of county administrator Jim McCafferty, began near the end of the county commission meeting. Dimora had participated in some of that meeting, voting on most items of business, but he left just before Jones proposed creating a charter review commission. After Jones and Hagan voted to do so, citizens concerned about the corruption investigation began to speak. McCafferty interrupted a 17-year-old speaker from Solon to tell reporters the Dimora press conference had already started.

No comments: