YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – For the past week, convicted former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora has been held at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown.
He is being held in federal custody while awaiting sentencing for his conviction on 37 charges that include bribery, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and filing false tax returns.
The prison where he is being held is described as a low security male institution in state inspection reports that reveal much about his new environment, and how dramatically it differs from a lifestyle that prosecution witnesses say he enjoyed when he was a free man.
While on the outside, Dimora was put up in a suite at the Mirage in Las Vegas and enjoyed his $400,000 home in Independence. On the inside, he may have to share a cell with two other inmates.
From the state inspection reports, both Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Marshal sides of Northeast Ohio Correctional Center have cells that are triple-bunked.
Witnesses like J. Kevin Kelley testified about getting "sponsors" who paid for expensive dinners. Former Auditor Frank Russo testified that Dimora "liked fine food and fine alcohol, only the best, big thick steaks and Crown Royal."
During their unannounced visit, inspectors reported Food costs at the prison in Youngstown are held to a budget established by the Corrections Corporation of America. "The food service Coordinator relayed that the average meal cost is .8687 (87 cents) per tray."
"Both inmates and staff relayed dissatisfaction with the quality and lack of variety of food. Inmates relayed a belief that the menu caters only to the Mexican inmate population," reported the inspectors.
From the 2009 inspection report, “Some inmates complained that the daily menu consists of beans and rice without variation.”
Dimora often dined with his closest friends, according to testimony. Those were people like Kelly, Russo, contractor Steven Pumper and others who were called during trial his ‘A’ team.
In prison, he will have to make new friends. Inspectors say at meal time inmates stand in line to get their trays through a window then, "Inmates sit wherever they choose, and ethnic groups tend to cluster for meals."
IRS Agent Kelly Fatula testified that Dimora claimed income of more than $150,000 on his tax reports.
From prison inspection reports, "Inmates pay for food service jobs ranges from 17 to 40 cents per hour, which is a higher rate of pay that some other inmate jobs."
"Inmates supply their own personal hygiene soaps from the commissary, unless indigent," reported the inspectors, who also said that among the inmates complaints was that "commissary prices are too high for the pay they receive."
From testimony, Dimora spent a great deal of his time dining with his friends, playing cards, and being entertained by prostitutes.
While in custody, Dimora will have to entertain himself in the prison's library or by using exercise equipment, playing ping-pong, or on a walking track.
The inspection report says all visitation for U.S. Marshal inmates is "non-contact."
And, if Dimora was upset that the FBI was listening in on his phone calls while he was a free man, prison inspectors report that is something he will have to get used to.
According to their report, in prison "The Intelligence Officer coordinates a staff of four who monitor thousands of phone calls."