At last we get to see Jimmy Dimora's bribe-furnished back yard and patio, the unofficial retreat of the old Cuyahoga County Democratic Party in-crowd.
Dimora and his lawyers didn't want you to see these photos, taken by FBI agents on their July 28, 2008 raid. But Judge Sara Lioi ruled that the public has a right to see them.
Most of the stuff in these photos, the judge noted, was "given by contractors identified at trial who were seeking county business." For instance, the brick work for the outdoor kitchen, including the bricks framing this pizza oven, came courtesy of contractor Nicholas Zavarella.
The patio roof and barbecue shelter came from Dimora buddy Steve Pumper, in exchange for several favors, including the county's sped-up $5 million purchase of a crumbling parking garage.
"Because a jury has found that these improvements and other things of value were obtained at the expense of the public—who had an expectation that their public officials would make decisions regarding the awarding of public contracts free from considerations of personal gain—the public has a vested interest in discovering the truth of these improvements and other things of value," the judge wrote.
Too bad the pool was covered when the feds stopped by.
A pretty nice back yard, huh? Yet I'm disappointed by one thing. The federal charges said Dimora got a tiki hut from a guy named Charles Randazzo.
At trial, Randazzo clarified it was actually a tiki bar. This appears to be it.
What a let-down! I expected way more Polynesian kitsch: carved wooden fright heads, spears, a fake palm tree, a thatched roof ...
Aha! That's more like it.
But this shot isn't from Dimora's house. "Photograph of artificial palm tree in Frank Russo's backyard," says the caption in the evidence list.
At last we know: Frank Russo is the true luau king of Cuyahoga County.