WILLOUGHBY HILLS, OH (WOIO) - The Cuyahoga County Corruption investigation continued Wednesday morning when federal agents swarmed the home of Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo's son, Vincent.
Russo pleaded not guilty to corruption charges Wednesday afternoon before Judge Kathleen O'Malley. Russo's attorney tells 19 Action News he plans to vigorously defend these charges and says they are not what they seem.
The indictment charges Russo with one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, one count of conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, one count of Hobbs Act conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. The schemes involve contracts awarded to clients of Russo's company, Vincore LLC, by Maple Heights City Schools (MHCS).
Russo is accused of delivering two televisions to the home of former MHCS board member Santina Klimkowski in December 2007 and instructing Klimkowski to deliver one of the televisions to MHCS Treasurer Christopher D. Krause. The televisions were bribes in return for contracts being awarded to a company that employed Russo's company, Vincore LLC, as a consultant, according to the charges.
One of the televisions, a 46-inch Sharp Aquos Liquid Crystal television, was obtained by an agent of Business 14.
On or about Aug. 3, 2008, about six days after federal agents searched the offices of Vincore LLC, Cuyahoga County offices and other businesses, Russo told Klimkowski to "get rid" of the television Russo had given her and instructed her to tell Krause to "get rid of" the television Russo had given to Klimkowski to give Krause, according to the charges.