Former Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman charged with 26 counts

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Former Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman has been charged for reportedly having an unlawful interest in a public contract.

The 26 first-degree misdemeanor counts stem from his alleged involvement in city contracts with a design firm, LAND Studio, that employed his wife.

"I take full responsibility and I apologize for whoever this hurt. I just hope to be able to move on from it," said Cimperman.

The offenses span a decade, from April 2002 through March 2012, according to court records.

"It's a relief that this is drawing to a close and I'm very sorry," he said.

Cimperman served ward 3 for 18 years before resigning in 2016. He now serves as the president of Global Cleveland.

Wednesday Cimperman told Cleveland 19 News he couldn't discuss exactly what happened that brought upon the charges until the case is closed.

City Council President Kevin Kelley worked alongside Cimperman for 10 years. He said he worked hard to make Cleveland a better place during his time on council.

"Joe Cimperman is a good man," Kelley said. "I have all the confidence in the world that he did not profit from this. He didn't steer any contracts. I believe that it was an oversight. I believe he voted on stuff that he shouldn't have."

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson offered the following statement Wednesday evening in response to the news:

"I served with Joe for many years. He has done a lot for the Ward he represented and the City of Cleveland. I am proud to call him my friend."

When asked if he had anything to say to the people he represented in Cleveland, Cimperman said, "It's always been the greatest honor of my life and I hope to be able to learn from my mistakes."

He is set to be arraigned in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas on Friday at 8:30 a.m.

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