Russo's dirty deals - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Russo's dirty deals

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) -

Could Frank Russo be going to prison soon?

Attorneys for Russo and two other key players in the Cuyahoga County corruption investigation conferenced with the judge Monday afternoon.

There has been speculation that the judge is considering tightening controls on Frank Russo, J. Kevin Kelley and Steven Pumper.

No word yet on what's happening. But as Russo remains free, here's a profile of just one of his crooked deals.

The Indian Hills Senior Complex in Euclid is one of the largest privately owned buildings of its kind in the United States. In 2006, it sold to the current owner, the Niederst family, for $30 million dollars. Federal documents say the sale occurred after indicted Attorney Anthony O. Calabrese III approached Niederst with the information that the place was for sale. After the sale, Calabrese walked away with a finder's fee.

The transaction was a pretty normal business deal. With one exception, according to the Feds. Calabrese picked Frank Russo as the broker for the deal. Russo did basically nothing and five days after the sale, walked away with $50,000. Well, he did nothing before the sale, but afterwards he did plenty and it cost taxpayers a bundle. He lowered the valuation of the place.

The current owners say no one did them any favors, and they are not charged with anything.

The sale price was $30 million, but within weeks, it was lowered to $24 million. The feds say Russo knew that Calabrese picked him as the broker in the deal because of he could easily grant favors to Calabrese. He put Sandy Klimkowski on the case telling her, "after the appraisal was completed, he wanted to personally review the changes to the Indian Hills valuation and have final say on the new value."

Euclid Schools were the big loser, they cried foul. After negotiations, the value went up to $25 million in 2007, $27.5 the next year and $30 million ever since. Russo kept his money. 

Copyright 2012 WOIO. All rights reserved. 

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