AKRON, OH (WOIO) - Attorney's for former county commissioner Jimmy Dimora attacked the testimony of contractor Ferris Kleem. Their cross examination began first thing Thursday morning.
Kleem is the owner of Blaze Construction and testified that he paid Dimora thousands of dollars in cash, gifts and sexual favors in return for Dimora using his influence to win contracts for his company.
Kleem testified for most of the day on Wednesday, giving graphic details of how Dimora routinely accepted cash and gifts and that he used Dimora when necessary to "smooth things out" for his business.
He also testified that he gave envelopes containing $6,000 in cash to both Jimmy Dimora and Frank Russo before a junket to Las Vegas.
Andrea Whitaker started by asking Kleem, "Isn't it true that you always knew the Juvenile Justice Center project was going to go to the lowest bidder?" Kleem answered yes. When she asked if he ever provided anything of value to Dimora to win the JJC project he answered, "Not on that particular occasion."
She hammered home the point that because the contract was to go to the lowest bidder, there was little Dimora could do to steer the contract to Kleem.
Dimora's defense attorney questioned Kleem about his plea deal with government prosecutors. After his guilty plea, Kleem faces a maximum of five years in prison. Attorney Andrea Whitaker revealed that with his cooperation, it could be as little as 12 months.
When asked what he thought his sentence should be, Kleem said, "I'd like it to be nothing." Asked what he hoped to gain out of this, he said, "I'd just like to get this whole thing off my back."
Kleem was asked if he ever discussed with the government drugs taken from his desk when it was raided by Federal agents. She did not indicate what kind of drugs or if they were medications. Kleem said it didn't come up.
Ferris Kleem was excused as a witness around 2:30 p.m.
Joanne Wolf, Kleem's assistant and book keeper at Blaze Construction for almost 20-years is next on the stand.
Michael Dever also testified Thursday. He is the former head of construction for the county engineer's office, currently the Cuyahoga County deputy sanitary engineer. He also served on Lakewood's city council.
Dever was named in the July 28, 2008 search warrants served at Blaze Building Corp. And Lopat Development in Berea.
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