I-Team: Attorney Enters Plea to Corruption Count Linked to Ameritrust Building

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CLEVELAND -- Attorney Anthony O. Calabrese III denies taking part in any bribery schemes--including any related to the county's purchase of the old Ameritrust building.

Calabrese entered not guilty pleas to 20 counts contained in a superseding indictment before a federal magistrate on Friday.

The magistrate allowed Calabrese to remain free on bond.

Prosecutors allege that Calabrese tried to bribe former county official J. Kevin Kelley to lobby then-commissioner Jimmy Dimora to favor the county's purchase of the outdated downtown building.

The county was looking at moving its offices to the building to jumpstart development near East 9th and Euclid Avenue, but that never happened.

The county did ultimately buy the complex, and with repairs, has sunk a total of about $45 million into a building that is still vacant.

Five years ago, the FOX 8 I-Team broke the story of a federal probe of county government with an investigation into a contract at the Ameritrust building.

One of the charges against Calabrese represents the first time prosecutors have directly linked the Ameritrust complex to the ongoing county corruption scandal.

Kelley has plead guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors.

In March, Dimora was found guilty on more than 30 corruption-related charges.