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CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) -
Cleveland attorney Anthony O. Calabrese III, a central figure in the public corruption scandal that erupted in Cuyahoga County in 2008, has been indicted on state charges of running a criminal enterprise, conspiracy, bribery and theft, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty and Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will announced.
The indictment, handed down Tuesday, by a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury also charged Sanford A. Prudoff, the City of Lorain's community development director for more than 30 years before he retired in 2007, with conspiracy and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity that included money laundering, bribery and payments to fraudulent consultants. Among other things, Prudoff was identified in the indictment as using his influence to help Calabrese obtain bond counsel work for the city of Lorain that paid him and his law firm approximately $1.3 million.
The indictment put Calabrese and Prudoff at the center of criminal enterprise "whose common purpose . . . was to exploit taxpayer resources for the personal benefit of those involved." That enterprise entangled public officials and agencies, nonprofit and private corporations.
The indictment says that Calabrese used his influence as legal counsel to Alternatives Agency, a Cleveland halfway house which received extensive public funding, to funnel cash to conspirators. Payments included $164,000 to Prudoff, $210,236 to former Parma school board member and county employee Kevin Kelley and $127,000 to lobbyist and former Lakewood Mayor Anthony Sinagra. The money was paid, the indictment states, despite the fact "that those individuals produced little or no work in their capacity as consultants for AA and were instead using the AA payments to commit crimes."
The indictment also states that Calabrese arranged payments of $70,000 to Kelley in exchange for inside information on the anticipated purchase of the former Ameritrust complex as a new headquarters for the Cuyahoga County government. That is money that Kelley "understood to be a bribe,'' according to the indictment.
The indictment also charges that Calabrese used Kelley pay for a Las Vegas trip for former County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former County Auditor Frank Russo "in order to restore county funding to Alternatives Agency."
"The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office involvement in this corruption case began when our investigation of serial rapist Thomas Castro revealed that attorney Anthony O. Calabrese III was orchestrating a bribery scheme on his client's behalf – even as he was out on bond on federal corruption charges,'' said McGinty.
"At that point, this office determined that separate prosecution on state charges was warranted by Calabrese's continued, brazen criminal conduct. Further investigation has revealed new bribery and corruption schemes that involved the Ameritrust deal and Alternatives Agency. This investigation continues."
McGinty said he will request that Calabrese be arraigned before he reports to federal prison to begin serving his sentence on corruption charges.