JULY 30, 2008
Hundreds of federal agents raided the government offices of Ohio’s most populous county and hauled away boxes of evidence as part of a massive, long-term public corruption probe that many say is the area’s largest since the feds took down the Cleveland mob in the 1970s.
The homes of several high-profile local politicians were also searched, including that of a powerful commissioner (Jimmy Dimora) in Cuyahoga County, located in northeast Ohio near Cleveland. A veteran political figure with many connections, Dimora also serves as the chairman of the county’s Democratic Party. Federal agents also descended upon the home of Dimora’s good friend, Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo.
The dynamic and power-wielding duo is suspected of trading jobs and public contracts for thousands of dollars worth of free improvements to their homes and properties. A local newspaper has for months investigated the Democratic machine built by the veteran political team, which has his hired friends and allies and helped the party control every elected office in the county for decades.
In all, 10 locations were searched bringing county government to a standstill. Four local contractors and consulting firms that do business with the county were also raided by the feds. Authorities are tight-lipped about the details, but sources told the local newspaper that the investigation was sparked when the chairman of a large construction company offered to bribe a Cleveland building inspector a few months ago.
All of the businesses being investigated are major players in northeast Ohio that have secured numerous lucrative public contracts. Several of them are said to have done tens of thousands of dollars in free work on Commissioner Dimora’s home in the last six years. Stay tuned for federal indictments, which are sure to be quite juicy.
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