Berea Mayor, Bedford School Superintendent testify in Dimora corruption trial

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - The Jimmy Dimora corruption trial has wrapped up for the day.

The first witness on the stand in the Jimmy Dimora corruption trial on Wednesday was Berea Mayor Cyril Kleem.

He is the cousin of Ferris Kleem, who has pleaded guilty to bribing Dimora, and who provided damaging testimony earlier in the trial. Kleem bankrolled a sex-filled gambling junket to Las Vegas for Dimora, former auditor Frank Russo, co-defendant Michael Gabor and others.

A community development grant of $150,000 for the Coe Lake Project in Berea was questioned. The money came from HUD and was earmarked to Berea by Cuyahoga County.  Dimora was a commissioner who voted to approve the funding.  Prosecutors allege that Dimora was able to steer the project to Berea.

The Mayor described how county officials at first said the project didn't qualify for funding so he asked Dimora to review the matter.  Ferris Kleem was on the committee that oversaw the project.  Mayor Kleem said his cousin didn't do anything regarding the funding of the project.

Bedford School Superintendent Sherman Micsak was next to take the stand.

This, after a more than hour delay as Dimora's defense attorneys scrambled for witnesses.  They have complained in the past that they need a delay to assemble their case because the prosecutions case wrapped up earlier than they expected. The judge denied that request.

Prosecutors allege that Dimora pulled strings in the Bedford Schools to get a job for Lauren Zavarella. She is the daughter of Nicholas Zavarella, and his company did free or highly discounted work on Dimora's home.

The core of the prosecution's case is that this fits a pattern of Dimora granting favors in return for bribes. Dimora's lawyers make the claim that he was simply making a recommendation for a friend.

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