Jimmy Dimora Is A Roadblock To Reform
Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora is under intense scrutiny by federal investigators and can be none other than "Public Official 1" identified in the recently filed indictments, yet he continues to vote on public contracts, change orders, payments and awards. Today, after being challenged by Rob Frost, Republican Party of Cuyahoga County Chairman, he was defended by his fellow Commissioners who had previously suggested he abstain from voting, then together they proceeded to unanimously approve $13,890,486.10 in new public spending. One interesting note: Today's votes included a seventy-five thousand dollar payment to settle an employee lawsuit against resigned, disgraced former County Sheriff Gerald McFaul.
All told for the day, Dimora voted to spend the nearly $14 Million of taxpayer money with his own potential federal indictment looming. "This is a time when we NEED to rebuild confidence in our local government. In today's uncertain economic times the citizens of Cuyahoga County deserve an accountable and transparent County Government that can be trusted to spend their tax dollars wisely," said Frost.
A major part of what ails Greater Cleveland is the method by which County business currently gets handled. As alleged in the federal criminal indictments, favored contractors get inside knowledge on just how low their bids need to be, then after winning the contracts with low-ball bids the change orders start coming. Today alone the Commissioners authorized $3.5 Million in change orders.
Frost went on to state that "Today, Dimora's colleagues on the Board of County Commissioners, Peter Lawson Jones and Tim Hagan, took great pains to point out the deep cuts projected in Health & Human Services spending in the upcoming state budget. How outraged will taxpayers be when it turns out that Commissioner Dimora was using the recent Health & Human Services levy as his personal piggy bank for gambling trips to Vegas and Windsor?"
Last year, Chairman Frost pointed out the inherent conflicts of interest that were mounting for Dimora and suggested that Commissioner Jones, then President of the Board of Commissioners, call for Dimora to resign. Jones resisted, stating that "Dimora told him that he (Dimora) did not believe he had done anything wrong." While Dimora continues to this day to maintain his innocence, Jones is now weakening in his resistance - months after the allegations came to light last summer.
"Jimmy Dimora needs to step down as Commissioner immediately. Jones and Hagan need to recognize the tremendous negative impact the indictment of a sitting Commissioner on corruption charges will have on our ability to attract business development and create jobs. If Dimora gives up his seat, the community can again move forward while he addresses his imminent legal matters," concluded Frost.