AKRON, OH (WOIO) - Nicholas Zavarella, a masonry contractor, was first on the stand in the Jimmy Dimora corruption trial Friday.
He provided free work at Dimora's home, including an extensive retaining wall and other stone and brick finishes around a resort like pool in Dimora's back yard. He puts the value at $33,000.
Zavarella has already pleaded guilty in the county corruption case and will be sentenced at a later date. His sentence could be lowered if he cooperates with the government and is truthful in his testimony.
He is heard on wiretapped phone conversations asking Dimora to intervene on behalf of a friend to remove roadblocks for a construction project. Dimora said he'll have his assistant Pat Smock "Snoop around and see what's going on." Zavarella ended the conversation by saying, "We'll get together for dinner, maybe go back to the Trout Club." The Trout Club is an exclusive private club where Dimora had been entertained in the past.
Dimora's attorneys questioned Zavarella on his long-time friendship with Dimora and his wife. They brought up the fact Zavarella and his wife had dinners at Dimora's home, and that Dimora hosted two bachelor parties for Zavarella's relatives, performed his brother's marriage ceremony and picked up at least one check for him where Zavarella was dining with his wife, but not the Dimora's. Their point is simple, they contend that any gifts Zavarella gave Dimora were the result of friendship and not bribes.
Zavarella testified that his testimony will result in a recommendation by the government of a 4 level downward "departure" or reduction in his sentence. The ultimate length of his sentence will be determined by Judge Sara Lioi.