Money Talks: Major Player in County Corruption Probe Hints Judge Could be Bought

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A new name has surfaced in the ongoing Cuyahoga County corruption investigation. A probate court judge who has the power to hire hundreds of workers.

Judge Anthony Russo is Frank Russo's brother. No one is saying that he did anything wrong or took any payment for anything, but we do know that Kevin Kelley used Russo's name to pull his own father's best friend into his web of deception.

Dennis Dooley has kept a low-profile since being charged with bribery for trying to buy a job in the Metroparks. A job Judge Anthony Russo could control. Dooley was an Auditor's Office employee of Frank Russo, the judge's brother. Dooley admits he paid $5,000 bucks for the Auditor's Office job.

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But when the Feds raided county offices, Dooley worried that the stress was too much for him. At a funeral in Florida, he talked to Kevin Kelley about it. Kelley told him that Frank's brother Anthony had just been elected Probate Judge and was responsible for hiring 300 people. In Kelley's words "Trust me, Dennis, we are family, and you need to get out of the Auditor's Office."

The allegations are contained in a portion of Dooley's pre-sentence investigation. He faces 2-3 years in prison and is hoping to get a better deal by cooperating. He has given the Feds information about "no show" jobs in the Auditor's Office.

But the odd part of the story is that Dooley is in trouble for the bribe because Kevin Kelley was already cooperating with the Feds. Kelley set him up. At a meeting in a restaurant, Dooley handed Kelley $5,000 in an envelope, Kelley left with the cash and immediately Federal Agents nabbed Dooley. Kelley had led the agents to him. But there is more, back to the Florida funeral.

It was the funeral of Kelley's mother's husband, Ray Bettendorf, Kelley's own step father. Bettendorf was Dooley's lifelong friend, his best friend and best man. Outed by Kevin Kelley, a man his friend Ray called son.

Again, no one has made any allegation against Judge Anthony Russo, but Kelley implied he could curry favor with him. It should be noted that after Dennis Dooley was confronted by the FBI, agents took campaign finance records from the offices of Kevin Kelley, Judge Anthony Russo, Jimmy Dimora and Frank Russo.

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