Ohio Democrat gets 28 year prison sentence for corruption

Vince Coglianese Contributor
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AKRON —  Former Cuyahoga County political leader Jimmy Dimora was sentenced Tuesday to 28 years in prison for his conviction in a wide-ranging federal public corruption case.

Dimora, an former county commissioner, denied any wrongdoing in a statement before he was sentenced.  A tearful Dimora said everything he did was for the taxpayer’s good.

The 57-year-old Dimora, also a former Democratic Party chairman in Cleveland, was convicted of racketeering, bribery and other counts. His trial capped an investigation that led to more than 50 convictions involving county officials, employees and contractors who traded bribes for government jobs and contracts.

The investigation helped fuel a referendum that replaced the three-commissioner county government in Cleveland with a county executive and council.

U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi sentenced Dimora after a hearing that began Monday.

Prosecutors had asked for more than 22 years behind bars.

Attorneys for Dimora asked for leniency because of his poor health and similar corruption cases that brought sentences of just a few years. Friends, neighbors and relatives of Dimora also testified on his behalf.

The charges and trial testimony covered a wide scope of gifts and freebies in return for favors in Ohio’s most populous county, a Democratic stronghold.

The government said Dimora took bribes for nearly a decade, including a Las Vegas trip that involved a woman who was paid $1,000 to give him a massage in his hotel room.

Other bribes included home renovations, an Ohio State football jersey worth $3,600, high-end restaurant meals, limousine service, use of a condominium and up to $2,000 toward the cost of a Rolex watch, the indictment said.

In the heated run-up to the indictment, the outspoken Dimora angrily denied wrongdoing and invited FBI agents to come after him.

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Vince Coglianese