Closing In: Charges Filed in Sweeping County Corruption Case Turn Heat Up on Frank Russo

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - 19 Action News uncovering new charges in the Cuyahoga County corruption investigation that point directly at County Auditor Frank Russo.

Computer consultant Anthony Ma was charged Monday morning in connection with the sweeping probe. [Click here to see the official court documents]

Ma is charged with two counts of conspiracy for funneling bribes to county decision makers in an attempt to win county consulting work.

Anthony Ma runs Broma Information Technologies. A company that wanted county computer work and paid bribes to get it. He got a $100,000 contract on the docuware program and kicked back 10% to Daniel Gallagher. Gallagher split the cash between Kevin Payne who helped swing the deal and Samir Mohammed.

Mohammed told 19 Action News Reporter Paul Orlousky he hadn't seen the Ma charges, then said we misread them.

Our read says Mohammed lobbied for Ma on the massive GIS computer project. When he failed, he continued to criticize the winning bidder and, with Frank Russo's urging, eventually won Ma a piece of the $3.1 million dollar deal. In return, Kevin Kelley got kickbacks and so did Mohammed. The federal documents say Mohammed distributed a portion of the cash he received to Frank Russo.

Ma's offices are vacant so he couldn't comment. But the numbers are staggering. In all, Payne, Gallagher, Kelley, Mohammed and Russo feasted on $175,000.

Ma's been before a judge before, admitting abstructing justice in a city clerk scandal. Tony Ma's role in 1999 was to print mailing labels from government records for Benny Bonnano to use in his political mailings. Ancient history, right? Not necessarily. 19 Action News sources say he did the same for other former and current officeholders. Is he naming names now?

Something else that is interesting. The corruption cases are now under the supervision of the federal court in Eastern Michigan. The U.S. Attorney here, Steven Dettlebach, recused himself because of a conflict and his first assistant has retired. They don't want any suggestion that a case this big is being handled anything but above board.

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