AKRON, Ohio - Life is full of "teachable moments" and the Jimmy Dimora trial is no exception. In fact, everyone can glean some very important life lessons from the trial.
The top 10 lessons from the Dimora trial include:
10. "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
This phrase is attributed to John Dalberg-Acton, an English historian and writer from the 1800s. Frank Russo testified that he and Dimora were the most powerful men in the county. Federal prosecutor Antoinette Bacon referred to Dimora as "king of the county." Russo and Dimora had power -- near absolute power -- and there is now no doubt they were absolutely corrupt. Life lesson: Beware of granting absolute power to public officials.
9. Sometimes it takes a crisis to bring about needed change.
The Cuyahoga County federal corruption investigation left the county being referred to as a "county in crisis." While far from perfect, the corruption "crisis" brought about a change in governance that otherwise would likely have not occurred. Life lesson: When necessary, advocate for needed change before a crisis. If not, the crisis may come to force the change, and it will likely be an ugly crisis when it occurs.
8. There is no loyalty among thieves.
Those who believe there is loyalty among thieves need only look at the long list of government witnesses who testified against Dimora. Life lesson: There is no loyalty among thieves. In the end, "What's in it for me?" will overcome loyalty among thieves when the thieves start getting caught.
7. If you do the crime, you will do the time.
This life lesson speaks for itself. Life lesson: It may take time, but eventually criminal behavior catches up with the criminal. The longer the wait, the harder the fall.
6. Public service does not mean self-service.
Dimora in one wiretap conversation said tongue-in-cheek, "Public service is my motto." Prosecutors said Dimora was all about self-service. Life lesson: Do not go into public service if your goal is self-service. Do your homework and elect those whose interests are in serving the public, not themselves. If you find out those in public office are about self-service, boot them out.
5. Nothing in life is free. Everything has a cost.
Dimora and Russo searched for "sponsors" for their free dinners, Vegas trips and other entertainment. The "sponsors" were often contractors seeking government access and influence from those being "sponsored." Life lesson: Nothing in life is free. Being cheap and greedy may benefit a person in the short-term, but in the long-term there is a cost. Sometimes the cost is life-altering.
4. All that glitters is not gold.
One of Dimora's prostitutes was identified in the trial by the nickname "Glitter." Prosecutors said this person named "Glitter" died. So did Dimora's career, reputation and family life. Life lesson: All that glitters is not gold. In fact, it could be poison.
3. What happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas, nor does most anything else bad stay a secret forever.
Gabor defense attorney Leif Christman said, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, except when the FBI is involved." Life lesson: The creation of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media, along with high-tech security equipment, makes it harder to keep behavior that occurs in public, and against the public, secretive. If the behavior is criminal, odds are even greater it will eventually be discovered.
2. Enjoy your family while you have them with you and do not take them for granted.
Dimora defense attorney Bill Whitaker unsuccessfully attempted to convince Judge Sara Lioi to not revoke Dimora's bond after Dimora was found guilty. Whitaker said Dimora should remain free to be close to his family. Prosecutors rebutted that being close to family did not seem to be a priority when Dimora was partying and carousing. Dimora's bond was revoked and he was taken into custody, throwing his wife a kiss and mouthing, "I love you," as he was chained and taken away by federal marshals, leaving his wife crying in the arms of their son. Defendant Michael Gabor also lost his freedom as he was taken into custody after guilty verdicts. Life lesson: Enjoy your family while you have them with you and do not take your loved ones for granted.
1. Brains beat loyalty, any day.
J. Kevin Kelley, the government's star witness and Dimora intermediary, in a wiretap conversation told Brian Schuman, former co-director of the Alternatives Agency, that "I always tell people loyalty makes up for brains any day." Kelley awaits sentencing in federal prison, lost his homes, and claims to be taking 21 pills a day for a long list of mental and medical conditions. Schuman also pleaded guilty in the federal conspiracy. Life lesson: Stick with "brains" any day over loyalty. Those who use their brains will learn lessons two through 10 above much faster and easier.
Hopefully Cuyahoga County will never have to learn these lessons the hard way ever again.
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