Map of the Fallen Stars
Just like the Hollywood Hills are dotted with addresses that take on deeper meaning once you know who resides there, Greater Cleveland abounds with locations made famous by Jimmy Dimora, Frank Russo and the federal agents who tapped their phones. With Dimora's bribery trial scheduled for Jan. 4 (at press time) and Russo set to head to prison after his turn as star witness, we followed the trail of prosecutor's filings to assemble this guide to Jimmy and Frank's Cleveland. So go ahead and order Dimora's favorite steak, visit the Euclid shrine where Russo prayed for an alibi, and visit the most expensive run-down parking garage in town. Let Positively Cleveland fill hotels with Rock Hall pilgrims and casino high rollers. We think it's time for a scandal staycation.
The Mirage Resort and Casino
3400 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas
Fair warning: What happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas when the FBI is listening. Thanks to an itinerary tracked through tapped cell phones, you can do Sin City like Jimmy and Frank. Enjoy a suite at the Mirage; dine at its Chinese restaurant, Fin; cavort at Bare, the "adult alternative to the traditional Vegas pool experience"; and request room C-56, the site of Dimora's encounter with the "chatty" masseuse. Ferris Kleem has pleaded guilty to bribing Dimora with gifts and a $1,000 Vegas prostitute in exchange for official favors, including help with his failed bid for a juvenile justice center contract. Dimora has said he never steered a contract, paid his own way in Vegas and only got a massage, which he also paid for. Room with a view of The Strip: from $75/night. Value of the contract Kleem wanted: $38 million.
Teamz Restaurant & Bar
6611 Eastland Road, Middleburg Heights
Contractor Ferris Kleem used to own this bright, friendly sports bar, where the feds say he, Russo and Dimora met to talk about their now-famous trip to Las Vegas four days later. "During the meeting, Kleem gave Russo an envelope containing $6,000 in cash: $1,000 for his airfare to Las Vegas and $5,000 for gambling," the charge against Russo says. The feds allege Dimora also got $6,000 from Kleem at Teamz; he's denied getting money for his trip. NFL game-day special: 20-ounce Miller Lites, $2. Value of casino chips Kleem allegedly gave Dimora in Vegas: about $3,500.
Del Sangro's Ristorante and Lounge
13450 Snow Road, Brook Park
Any question about why Dimora would hold lunch meetings at this modest Italian joint fades when you see the sign: "Lunch Buffet: All You Can Eat, $7.95." A waitress says both Dimora and former sheriff Gerald McFaul came here occasionally for the buffet. A second job for part-time Russo employee Jerry Skuhrovec was allegedly on the menu when Russo, Dimora and McFaul met here for lunch on March 25, 2008. McFaul later hired Skuhrovec as an appraiser. Russo and Skuhrovec have pleaded guilty to fraud conspiracy in connection with the hire, but McFaul has not been charged, and a charge against Dimora has been dropped. Buffet: $7.95, $8.95 on Friday. Skuhrovec's income as appraiser: $22,584 in 2008; about $40,000 in 2009.
The Plaza at Stonebridge
1237 Washington Ave., Cleveland
These sleek condos along the Superior Viaduct feature floor-to-ceiling windows that gaze out over downtown. The views are especially commanding from the eighth floor, where, in unit 808, Dimora allegedly rendezvoused for a "Saturday night adventure" on April 5, 2008, with an "old friend." Prosecutors think Dimora and his buddies got to use the model condos at Stonebridge in an arrangement involving the engineer's office lease there and Dimora's vote on engineer's office issues. Condos: $130,000 and up. Value of a discreet location: Priceless.
944 and 1016 Prospect Ave., Cleveland
Visit the dumpy, two-story garage county commissioners inexplicably voted 2-1 to buy for $5.1 million in 2007 as part of their ill-fated headquarters project. Prosecutors charge that Dimora's friend, contractor Steve Pumper, gave Dimora cash bribes to speed up purchase of the cracked-concrete shack. Dimora had planned on tearing it down along with the Ameritrust Tower, but now a second round of repairs is coming due on the decrepit garage, and the new government will be stuck with the bill. Parking rates: $5 daily max. Cost of the alleged Dimora bribe: $33,000.
Jimmy Dimora's house
7254 Forestwood Drive, Independence
Since buying this 4-bed, 2 1/2-bath colonial for $399,000 in 1999, Dimora has transformed its backyard into a Polynesian paradise, adding (according to the feds' unofficial appraisal) a patio, bathhouse, barbecue shelter, grill area, outhouse, basketball court and tiki hut. The feds think his contractor buddies did nearly all of it for free or for heavy discounts; Dimora has said he pays his bills. Not open to the public, but watch for an open house and sale if the prosecutors' forfeiture claim succeeds in court.
6001 Quarry Lane, Independence
The cowboy steak isn't on the menu, but those in the know can order Dimora's favorite dish — 22 ounces of manly decadence, a soft-as-butter rib-eye. Over by the bar, a comic painting of three guys leering over their shoulders at a flirty blonde captures the vibe: This suburban steakhouse is the ultimate guys' club, with all-male tables sometimes outnumbering the mixed company. Dimora, Russo and cronies such as J. Kevin Kelley often held court here, and the Dimora indictment quotes table talk captured on tapped cell phones. Cowboy steak: $42.
Holiday Inn Cleveland
6001 Rockside Road, Independence
The hotel bar here is named Impulse, and prosecutors say Dimora acted on a couple of his own at this 364-room hotel in March and June 2008. He's charged with "soliciting and accepting sexual favors" from a woman known as Public Employee 39 in exchange for helping her get a job with the Bedford Municipal Court. "Whether your stay is business or social," trumpets the pamphlet at the front desk, the hotel offers "distinctive amenities and elegant surroundings." Prosecutors claim mixing business and his social life is exactly what Dimora did wrong here. Standard rate: $129.99/night. PE39's alleged salary requirements: $24,000-$40,000/year.
Our Lady of Lourdes National Shrine
21281 Chardon Road, Euclid
"A haven of peace in a chaotic world," promises the shrine's motto, but it offers no assurances about a haven from federal investigation. Since 1926, faithful Catholics have come to this outdoor shrine to light devotional candles and pray for healing. In 2009, Russo met friend Ron Romanini here to ask if he could put Romanini on a list of people who'd given Russo $10,000 after his son's death, as a way to cover up $1.2 million in cash kickbacks a former employee told federal agents she'd delivered to Russo. Problem was, Romanini hadn't given Russo $10,000, and he was already cooperating with the FBI. Admission to shrine: Free. Donation for lighting a prayer candle: 25 cents. Time Russo will have to reflect on his deeds: 21 years (though his sentence may be reduced for cooperating with prosecutors).
12:00 AM EST
December 27, 2011