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Courts and Crime


Kevin Kelley testifies in Forlani corruption hearing
Says he took at least $80k in bribes
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI


Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
Michael Forlani huddles with attorneys outside of court
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In The Region:

There were several defendants from the Cuyahoga County Corruption case in federal court in Akron today (Fri).  Contractor Ferris Kleem was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in bribing former Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former Auditor Frank Russo.  Judge John Adams gave Kleem more time that prosecutors had proposed.

Just down the hall, in the courtroom of Sara Lioi, another contractor, Michael Forlani, is undergoing a sentencing hearing. Details on the latest testimony from WKSU’s Mark Urycki . . .

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Former Parma School Board member J. Kevin Kelley came into court to testify about purchasing environmental controls for his district under pressure from Auditor frank Russo.  Kelley’s day job was with the county and Russo was his boss.  He testified that when Russo wanted him to go with a certain company “It’s more than a request, it’s almost an order.”   Russo and Forlani were friends and Forlani’s company would be installing the system.  Forlani plead guilty but the two sides are trying to determine the cost of his restitution.   Kelley testified that attorney Anthony Calabrese was giving him envelopes full of cash that came from Forlani.   He said four  times he got 10 thousand dollars - in 100 dollar bills.  Twice he got 20 thousand dollar payments.  Under defense questioning Kelley admitted he wasn’t always aware where the money was coming from.

Earlier in the day, the prosecution focused on bribes to former Cleveland City Council member Sabra Pierce Scott.  An FBI agent detailed how Scott helped get city approval for Forlani’s massive project to build a new Veterans Administration hospital in her ward.  Prosecutors say that’s why Forlani’s company Doan Pyramid Electric hired her son Randell Scott Junior. 

The Forlani hearing will continue on Monday but the stream of Cuyahoga County convicts will continue at the Seiberling federal building and courthouse in Akron.   On Tuesday morning, attorney Anthony Calabrese is scheduled to enter his guilty plea. 

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