Monday, July 23, 2012

Feds say Dimora took 100 bribes, ask for 22+ year sentence

One week to go before Jimmy Dimora is sentenced to federal prison for his crimes, and the feds have filed their long-awaited sentencing memo.  What more could they possibly tell us about the Big D and his comical depravity?

Except for a footnote about case-fixing, not much.  Instead, the prosecutors unleash their rage at Dimora on the public's behalf.  They say he took more than 100 bribes from 11 people, worth more than $250,000.  They credit him with destroying the government he led by inspiring voters to throw it out in disgust.  They say he undermined our confidence in government, disrespected his family, mocked charity, and committed two of the seven deadly sins.  They really pile it on.

Their goal? "This landmark corruption case compels a landmark corruption sentence," they say.  They want Dimora, age 57, to go to prison for more than 22 years.

Some of the best quotes:

Dimora corrupted nearly every aspect of his job and of County Government. He accepted bribes in return for County jobs, loans, grants, contracts, fixing court cases and gaining an advantage with County agencies.

The effects of Dimora’s conduct bloating the public payrolls, giving preferential treatment to certain contractors and loan applicants, and tipping the scales of justice to benefit some litigants over others, have been, and will be, felt for years.

Dimora built a backyard resort on the backs of the County taxpayers. He funded his 7 gambling trips, poker parties, secret trysts, and expensive meals, from the County till. This behavior is particularly outrageous because it occurred during a time that demanded fiscal constraint, when the County was cutting services and asking financially strapped taxpayers to pass additional tax levies.

Nothing in Dimora’s upbringing excuses, justifies or otherwise mitigates against strong punishment. The Presentence Investigation Report detailed that Dimora enjoyed an enviable childhood. One can only conclude that he was simply motivated to commit these crimes by greed and the lust for power.

Credit for the prose appears to belong to Antoinette Bacon, the assistant U.S. attorney who handled much of the government's case at trial.

Bacon is also good at making lists and charts.  Here is her highly entertaining list of the 18 bribes Ferris Kleem gave Dimora:
  • Plasma TV $ 2,500.00
  • Television discount $ 200.00
  • Ring $ 200.00
  • Refrigerator $ 1,149.90
  • Cash to Dimora for refrigerator $ 1,150.00
  • Cash for Dimora Rolex $ 2,000.00
  • Suite at Mirage Hotel for Dimora $ 1,154.86
  • Cash for Las Vegas for Dimora $ 6,000.00
  • Cash to Frank Russo for Las Vegas $ 6,000.00
  • Food, beverages and cabana rentals in Las Vegas $ 2,260.87
  • Casino gaming chips for Dimora $ 3,425.00
  • Casino gaming chips for Kelley $ 1,000.00
  • Dinner at Prime $ 2,219.90
  • Suzzanne Michaels $ 1,000.00
  • Trout Club Dinner $ 1,496.54
  • Wine for Trout Club dinners $ 1,000.00
  • Mallorca Dinner $ 4,000.00
  • Teamz Lunch $ 227.72
  • Total Bribes $ 36,984.79
The feds also note that Dimora kept up his limo-riding, stripper-loving, backyard-styling ways all throughout 2005, when Nate Gray, Cuyahoga County's previous king of political corruption, was facing trial. 
  • $13,098.68 in home improvements from DAS
  • $1,362 in limousine services from Payne and his law firm
  • $300 in female entertainment from Payne
  • $600 in home improvements from Reliance Mechanical
  • $705 in home improvements from Local 55 and Rybak and
  • $1,079.14 tiki bar from FNA and Randazzo.
Gray's 15 years in the clink weren't enough to deter Dimora, they note. So they figure 22 or more should scare the next political crook.

Dimora gets a chance to respond, and his lawyers do have a few points they can make. Dimora didn't have his hand in the till like the feds say, they'll argue.  No one showed him stealing county money for himself, not directly; he just nudged contracts and loans in his friends' directions.  At one point, the feds cite a cement contract that went to Kleem's Phoenix Cement, but everyone agrees Phoenix was the low bidder.  Dimora's lawyers will likely argue, again, that everything he voted on was vetted by county staff and the other commissioners.

It actually is hard to find any clear mistake the county made because Dimora got bribed to make it happen -- though the $5 million purchase of the decrepit parking garage on Prospect comes close. 

Still, this is not a case where the defendant will get much sympathy, from the judge or anyone.  The prosecutors know it.  Here's how they respond to his plea to get let out of the joint to see a doctor:

Defendant has provided no evidence that his medical conditions cannot be diagnosed and treated by the Bureau of Prisons. Moreover, many of his health problems appear to be weight-related and should ease as Dimora loses weight on a prison diet.

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