AKRON, Ohio - U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi had a lot to say before she sentenced Jimmy Dimora to 28 years in federal prison.
"He may need to address his alcohol problem," she said near the beginning of her remarks.
Judge Lioi said Dimora's crimes prevented others from having the opportunity to have a level playing field when it came to doing business with the county.
Dimora's conduct is the kind that causes people to distrust government, the judge said. "The reach of his corruption was far and wide."
The judge said she recognized Dimora served the public for more than three decades. And in the beginning, she said he did a lot of good, and Bedford Heights was a better city for it.
"Perhaps when he became county commissioner, he intended to serve his constituents in the same way," Judge Lioi said. "But somewhere along the way his focus changed… to serving his self and his friends. Somewhere along the way, he changed."
The judge said Dimora and former auditor Frank Russo developed a culture that in order to success in securing a government contract or a government job, "you had to pay a price."
Russo took large amounts of cash, Judge Lioi said, while Dimora was content "to get meals, prostitutes, home improvements and smaller amounts of cash."
She said there was a big difference in how Dimora and Russo worked their "symbiotic relationship."
"In many ways, Mr. Russo was more obvious about what he was doing," Judge Lioi said. "Mr. Dimora's style was much more insidious," in that he required "sponsors" to pay for his meals, prostitutes and more.
The judge called Dimora a "master" at convincing people in his inner circle to grease his palm to get what he wanted.
"He betrayed his oath… brought dishonor to his office," Judge Lioi said. "He tried to cover up the trail of corruption and this makes his conduct all the more egregious."
Judge Lioi said she hoped her sentence would help restore some of the public trust Dimora helped to erode.