Dimora Breaks Down with Heartfelt Message
AKRON — On Tuesday afternoon, former Cuyahoga County commissioner Jimmy Dimora spoke for the first time since being found guilty of racketeering and 31 other corruption related crimes in early March.
The ex-official entered the courtroom with an easy air and he appeared more confident than the day before. His steps behind a walker were less deliberate and clumsy. He seemed relaxed as he took his seat and looked to the back of the courtroom where his wife, Lori, and oldest son, Anthony, were sitting with half a dozen other family members.
Two hours later, he was a different man; it was clear following the lunch break that Dimora’s crimes would be viewed in the harshest terms federal guidelines would allow.
He began wiping tears from his eyes as his attorney referenced letters from his three children who praised him as a father.
With only minutes left before Federal Judge Sara Lioi would pronounce her sentence, Dimora accepted an invitation to address the court. He spoke of a job he believed he did well for thirty years, first as a councilman of Bedford Heights, then as mayor, and finally as commissioner of Cuyahoga County.
His voice seemed to grow stronger as he defended his record of service to the taxpayer.
“I emphatically deny I took part in that conduct,” he said forcefully, “I had nothing to do with that kind of illegal activity.”
Dimora insisted he routinely followed the advice of county staff when casting a vote for the best and lowest bidder on contracts.
“The county has lost no taxpayer money for any vote I cast, not one cent,” Dimora said.
The former commissioner told Judge Lioi he believed federal prosecutors “created a mountain out of a mole hill.”
It was then the 57-year-old husband and father of three turned from his public life to the one he shared with his family, begging Judge Lioi for whatever discretion she might exercise on his behalf.
“Don’t separate me from my family,” he said, as his voice began to break.
The words “I love my wife,” became a painful sob. It was the moment that brought Lori Dimora to tears at the back of the courtroom, her pain silencing her husband for what seemed like minutes.
His final words were a tribute to her as the mother of their three children. “I give her great credit for raising three great kids,” he wept.
After a 28 year sentence was pronounced, Dimora stood, hugged his attorneys, and called out to his family, “See you guys, don’t know when.”
Dimora’s attorney, Bill Whitaker, was the only one who would speak on the former commissioner’s behalf.
“I can tell you he’s very disappointed,” Whitaker said.