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Jimmy Dimora house to be sold; part of his pension forfeited
Dimora bribes included extensive remodeling around backyard pool; but the deal will be called off if his appeal succeeds.

Mark Urycki
The Dimora home in Independence is to be sold off if Dimora's appeal of his conviction on dozens of corruption charges fails.
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Former Cuyahoga County Commissioner James Dimora and his family will likely have to give up the nearly half-million-dollar house they own in Independence.  That’s part of settlement reached yesterday  at the federal courthouse in Akron.

Judge Sarah Lioi had called a jury in for a forfeiture hearing to determine what property Dimora would have to give up because he got them with the help of bribes.  But, as WKSU’s Mark Urycki reports, the jury never got to make that decision.

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Dimora attorney Bill Whitaker promises an appeal, saying he was unable to make much of his case in Judge Lioi's court.
Gabor attorney Leif Christman says his client's case suffered from the taint of being tried with Dimora.
Lori Dimora will get her 50 percent share of the house and her husband's retirement income from being mayor of Bedford Heights.
FBI Special Agent Steve Anthony talks to reporters with Special Agent Vicki Anderson. They called the Dimora case a sad saga, but a triumph.
Leif Christman and client Michael Gabor (R) in January. Christman says being tried with Dimora poisoned the case for Gabor.

Jimmy Dimora barely uttered a word during his 10-week trial but he was answering questions loud and clear yesterday from Judge Sars Lioi. Wearing a dark blue suit and tie and no handcuffs, he repeated, “Yes your Honor,”   “Yeah, sure, your honor.”  

 Lioi was asking the man who prosecutors had called the “King of the County” whether he understood and agreed with the forfeiture settlement as U.S. attorney Antoinette Bacon ran through the details.  His wife and two sons watched.

 Dimora agreed to give up his interest in the $438,000 house that witnesses testified he loved so much. The government will let his wife, Lori, keep her 50 percent interest in the house. And if Jimmy Dimora loses his appeal, his wife will have six months to move out. Then she and the government will split the sale proceeds.  Dimora’s attorney Bill Whitaker.

 Whitaker: “Obviously Mr Dimora was very concerned about his wife and his family and that was an important part of negotiations today.”
Urycki: “Were you prepared to put Mr. Dimora on the stand today?"
Whitaker:  “I’m not going to comment on what we would have done because a lot of that depends on what was put on before us.  We would respond to the government's case had it been put on.” 

Dimora will also have to give up $120,000 from his county retirement pension. The rest of his pension -- tied to his time as mayor of Bedford Heights -- will go to Lori Dimora, and it will pay her $60,000 a year. Dimora will also give up any personal account with more than $10,000 in it.

He’s to be sentenced July -- and then he may also be ordered to pay restitution. The IRS says he owes $56,000 alone on bribes he failed to declare as income from 2004 through 2007. 

 The government is agreeing to give everything back if Dimora wins an appeal and is found not guilty.
And Dimor'a attorney,Bill Whitaker, promises there will be one. "There was evidence we had hoped to get to the jurors that we were unable to do so we definitely be filing an appeal. We’re disappointed with the verdict.”

 The same jury convicted his co-defendant, Michael Gabor, of all but one charge. Gabor’s attorney, Leif Christman, said outside the courthouse that he would have preferred his client be tried separately from Dimora.

  “You know being in a room that was filled with poison obviously spilled over.”

 Christman also will appeal.

 After the forfeiture deal, the FBI spoke for the first time since it launched its investigation more than four years ago. Special Agent Steve Anthony called the Dimora saga “a sad chapter” 

"Sad that we had to witness the pervasive corruption of some in our government. But it’s also a hopeful time. It’s hopeful in that we know that together we can identify, pursue, and hold accountable those who choose to serve themselves rather than the constituents that elected them.”   

Both Dimora and Gabor will be sentenced July 25th, just three days before the anniversary of the day agents raided their homes and offices in 2008. Until then, they’re being housed at the federal prison in Youngstown.

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