Federal prosecutors are asking for a 22-year prison sentence that matches the severity of Jimmy Dimora’s landmark corruption case. Former Cuyahoga County commissioner Dimora has been found guilty of 32 counts of corruption for accepting gambling trips, sex with prostitutes, free meals, expensive liquor and free home improvements from people wanting political favors. Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon argued that a lesser sentence would deprive the public of proper punishment and instill disrespect for the law.
Bacon also said that Dimora had attempted to stymie the investigation. She felt that in combination with Dimora’s standing as the highest ranking public official in Cuyahoga County, his conduct merited a long sentence. Dimora was the head of a wide-ranging criminal enterprise whose behavior caused a loss of public confidence in government.
A well-intentioned effort thwarted by corrupt action
In 2009, the electorate hoped a restructured system of government would launch a new period of honesty, reform and prosperity. However, Bacon said that Dimora took bribes in exchange for fixing court cases, awarding contracts, bestowing grants, dispensing county jobs, handing out loans and procuring an advantage with other government agencies.
It is estimated that Dimora accepted over 100 bribes that totaled more than $250,000. The majority of the bribes were for remodeling Dimora’s pool house, dining area and backyard patio kitchen. Furthermore, he dipped into the county tills to pay for poker parties, gambling excursions, secret trysts with prostitutes and pricey banquets. This all occurred when the county was curtailing services and increasing taxes on already burdened taxpayers.
Even the corruption prosecution of U.S. Representative James Traficant and businessman Nate Gray had no effect on Dimora’s activity. He kept soliciting and accepting bribes. His conviction was the highest profile achievement stemming from an FBI investigation that resulted in charges for 60 other contractors, county workers and elected officials.