Star witness takes the stand in Jimmy Dimora corruption trial - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Star witness takes the stand in Jimmy Dimora corruption trial

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AKRON, OH (WOIO) -

The Jimmy Dimora trial is underway at the Akron Federal Courthouse. 

Jason Shank, a Plumbers Local 55 executive, was first to testify.  He said he did free work at Dimora's home and used union materials and supplies.  He never saw any payment for the work. 

Just before 11AM, J. Kevin Kelley took the stand.  19 Action News confronted Kelley at Hopkins Airport on Friday when he arrived from his home in Florida.  Kelley at one point said, "I look forward to testifying on Monday."  He refused to apologize to the citizens of Cleveland for his actions.

Kelley testified that he began cooperating immediately with FBI agents investigating Dimora and county corruption. He got a phone call the day of the county raids, saw FBI agents at the Engineer's Office when he arrived for work. He went into the back of an FBI car and told agents he would cooperate. He says he wore hidden microphones for the government on at least 20 occasions. He was cautioned not to say who he secretly recorded.

He says he has serious health issues, including bi-polar disorder. He says his friends are no longer talking to him. He says he had to tell his wife and children about his activities with prostitutes and it has taken a toll.

His plea agreement says if he cooperates and is truthful during the trial, the government will recommend a prison term of 5 years and 10 months. The final decision is up to the judge, he could be given more.

Kelley testified that he never saw Dimora ever pick up a check after expensive dinners. It was Kelley's job to make sure that there was always a "sponsor" at the gatherings. He says a sponsor was their name for a contractor who wanted to curry favor with Dimora. The sponsors paid the check, if they didn't or there wasn't one present, Kelley would pay.

He testified that after a $9,000 bill arrived at Dimora's house for a catered graduation for Dimora's son, Jimmy, was angry. He told Kelley to go the owner and get it lowered. He agreed to lower it to $6000. Dimora was still angry, he said he's pay $3000. Kelley made up the difference and Dimora was pleased.

Kelley freely used the word prostitute while testifying. In the past, most references to Dimora's female companions have been as "escorts." Kelley says he sometimes paid the woman for their services to Dimora. When asked why he said, "I just thought it was expected of me."

Copyright 2012 WOIO. All rights reserved.

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