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Monday, June 20, 2011

Cuyahoga County Corruption All-Stars' Life in Federal Prison

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 3:53 PM

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What do you do when used to be a semi-high-level local political mover and shaker accustomed to bribing officials, taking bribes, doling out multi-million construction contracts, feasting on steak dinners, and unloading U-Hauls of frivolous but nevertheless nice gifts and suddenly find that life gone in exchange for years in federal prison?

The Plain Dealer
has the lowdown after William Crosby, a Lakewood lawyer sent away from his connection to the Cuyahoga County corruption fiasco, dished on life at "club fed" down in West Virginia. Turns out, it's not all bocce ball and relaxation, though there's plenty of that. But the Cuyahoga Clique is making the best of of its amenities, one small pack of tuna at a time.

The Cuyahoga County contingent reads like a Who's Who of corruption probe defendants: MetroHealth Medical Center construction manager Tom Greco and Nilesh Patel, the construction company executive who bribed Greco and his boss, John Carroll, for business. Dennis Dooley, Dinesh Bafna and attorney Bruce Zaccagnini, all convicted of bribing then-county Auditor Frank Russo.

And how's life, aside from the occasional respite of recreation?

Smoking is not permitted, and cigarettes are contraband. Money is only permitted in the prison commissary, so the inmates have established an underground currency — tuna wrapped in plastic, Crosby said. The packets sell for $1.05 at the commissary.

The commissary is the source of nearly everything worth having at Morgantown, Crosby said. Coffee, tea, cups, meat, fruit, snacks, condiments, toiletries, clothing, writing paper, envelopes, stamps, medications, and phone cards. Shopping is limited to one day a week.

The other matter of great import: TV time. Lots of tuna, Crosby told the PD, is exchanged for leaving a station on or switching to a specific program. Wonder if the fellas get Carl Monday down there?

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