County Corruption cooperation: What's at risk? - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

County Corruption cooperation: What's at risk?

Jury selection begins Friday for two more men accused in the County Corruption Investigation --
CMHA boss George Phillips Oliver and businessman Michael McMichael.

Paul Orlousky looks at what they could be risking by going to trial.

On Wednesday the two men rejected plea deals offered by the government. By doing so they are taking the same risk that Jimmy Dimora is by going to trial...prison, fines and their pensions.

By going to trial Jimmy Dimora is playing with fire. If one thing is clear in the County Corruption Investigation it is that there is widely differing treatment of those who cooperate with the government and those who go to trial, fight and lose. Don't forget that each and every person who has gone to trial has lost; Judges Bridget McCafferty, Steven Terry, MetroHealth's Thomas Greco, and VAS partner William Mitchell. All are on varying length federal vacations behind bars.
Now compare that to those who have played ball with the FEDS and cooperated. They've all plead guilty to serious crimes but aren't in prison. Their vacations are real. Frank Russo has been seen all over town. He was spotted looking at jewelry at Beachwood Place, watching a male stripper at a Cleveland bar and even dishing up food for the hungry at St. Agustines.

Former Lakewood Mayor Anthony Sinagra is still out two years after admitting what he did.   Maple Heights School Board President Sandy Klimkowski is still out as well, two years later.   The districts treasurer Christopher Krause's been out a year and a half. And Frank Russo pal Joseph O'Malley is still out a year and a half after fessing up. 
Same for bribe happy Ferris Kleem, a year and a half and still free. County computer boss Dan Weaver is still out a year after pleading.
And then there is Kevin Kelley the grand daddy of the whole thing. He got the sweetest deal of all by flipping and singing a song the FEDS wanted to hear as soon as investigators rang his doorbell. It's paid off. He's living in sunny Florida, going to relatives weddings in Las Vegas and has even talked the public employee's retirement system into paying his a $60,000 a year disability pension because he's stressed at being in trouble.

And there is also another element to this...pensions.  The government took a lot of Steven Terry's, the first time that's happened in Ohio. They are sure to try that again if they win new convictions.




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