Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Vegas trip: new details and tapes in Russo charges

Lots of new details in the Frank Russo charges about Russo, Jimmy Dimora and Ferris Kleem's April 2008 trip to Las Vegas.

The charges describe Russo taking $6,000 in cash from Kleem at Teamz restaurant in Middleburg Heights to spend on the trip. The next line indicates that Dimora was at the meeting too*:

After the Teamz meeting, Russo and PO1 discussed their meeting with Ferris Kleem. PO1 stated, "He [Kleem] made me sick with ten more f---ing issues."

Russo replied, "You should have left when I left."

The next day, Russo talks to Public Employee 4, an employee of his described as a "friend and close confidante" of his and Dimora's.

Russo said, "Don't say anything, but we just met with the one guy [Kleem] who's going to be there [in Las Vegas], he's gonna have whores and he's got a tiki hut by the pool, he's got everything."

PE4 replied, "I heard. That's a beautiful thing, that's awesome."

Foreshadowing the (alleged) Chatty Prostitute!

Confusingly, Russo goes on to say he paid Kevin Kelley for the trip.

"I did not want anybody to say they paid for our tickets. So [PO1] and I gave him a check today for our tickets because I didn't want no rumors to start that Kevin [Kelley] took us to Vegas or that other guy [Kleem] took us to Vegas. This way we got proof we paid our own tickets and I have no problem then."

Combine that with the $6,000 cash, and it looks like the feds think the Kelley payments were a cover story for Kleem's cash bribe.

After the trip, Dimora and Russo are allegedly taped talking about how a Plain Dealer reporter (probably Mike McIntyre) called them about their time in Vegas:

Russo said, "I am so glad I paid for my ticket."

PO1 replied, "You have to. They are going to check all that." ...

PO1 said, "I'm not going to tell him [the Plain Dealer reporter] that I saw Ferris Kleem over there [in Las Vegas]."

Russo replied, "No, no. I would say I didn't see him."

*Update, 4 p.m.: Dimora and Russo's lunch with Kleem at Teamz also came up in the April charges against Kleem. There, the prosecutors said Dimora and Russo each got $6,000:

Kleem gave PO1 and PO2 each an envelope containing $6,000 in cash, $1,000 each for their airfare to Las Vegas, and $5,000 each for gambling, the latter to insure that PO1 and PO2 each gambled enough to earn the 'comped' suites at the Mirage that Kleem had reserved.

Dimora denied this in a press conference last July. "I wrote a check, I paid for my trip," he told Bill Sheil of Fox 8.

"And nobody reimbursed you cash for that?" Sheil asked.

"I never got a reimbursement," Dimora said.

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