County Executive wants investigation into ill-fated Ameritrust T - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

County Executive wants investigation into ill-fated Ameritrust Tower purchase

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County Executive Ed FitzGerald wants an investigation into the county's ill-fated purchase of the Ameritrust Tower.

In short, he believes the county was ripped off on several levels.

"It's the most difficult corner in the city for people to access," said Former Commissioner Tim McCormack.

McCormack saw early conceptual plans for several possible sites, but was out of office before he could try and veto the Ameritrust purchase. He agrees with something Reporter Paul Orlousky said in a 2004 story. "It's about rich guys chasing money."

Other than Jacob's and Ameritrust, the rich guys were David Goldbers and his 668 Euclid Building, Forest City's old Higbees on Public Square and a site on Lakeside leading down to another known as the pit west of Browns Stadium. All were passed over after a consultant, the Staubach Company, recommended Ameritrust. Indicted Attorney Anthony Calabrese III brought them in. The seller was supposed to pay Stauback's fees. The county got stuck with them.

Something happened along the way that was expensive in the millions of dollars for the county.
In paperwork filed in Jimmy Dimora's trial, Judge Sarah Lioi cited a conversation now convicted contractor Steve Pumper had with someone she calls perhaps the most reliable of all of the confidential sources in the case. It had to do with Ameritrust.

He said Pumper, "after rubbing his fingers together in a "money" gesture, stated that the county commissioners often "want a little action"  and one site was out because "the owner of the other property refused to pay bribes or kickbacks."

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