AKRON, OH (WOIO) - Exactly how millions of dollars in federal funds were used on projects in Cuyahoga County was the prosecution's focus in the Jimmy Dimora corruption trial Thursday.
The exact focus is if projects proposed by friends of Dimora got special treatment. If people like Ferris Kleem and Steve Pumper's influence with Dimora caused him to steer dollars to his friends projects.
The first witness was Paul Oyaski, the former Director of Development for Cuyahoga County. He is also the former Mayor of Euclid.
His testimony centered on monies his department awarded to contractors to stimulate development. The Department of Development oversaw the award of millions of dollars in Federal grants to municipalities.
The use of these funds in the city of Berea was questioned. A grant there was used to construct a bridge at Coe Lake in Berea. The project was built by one of Ferris Kleem's companies.
Kleem has pleaded guilty to bribing Dimora and has testified against him. Kleem bankrolled a sex-filled gambling trip to Las Vegas attended by Dimora and co-defendant Michael Gabor as well as others.
19 Action News cameras were the only ones rolling as former DAS Construction executive Steve Pumper entered the Federal Courthouse.
Pumper is expected to testify about paying for extensive construction on Dimora's pool and home. He buried the costs in bills to other clients.
Pumper won a Federal grant for his Parkview Apartments project in downtown Cleveland. At one point, then-Commissioner Dimora made a call on his behalf. Pumper is the man the FBI was investigating for bribing a City of Cleveland building inspector when the county corruption came to light. He bribed Bobby Cuevas, who was an FBI informant. When agents confronted Pumper he said, "Oh, I know what you're looking for. You don't want me, you want Dimora, Russo and them." Thus the investigation began.
To date, more than 60 individuals have been convicted of a variety of charges as a result of the investigation.