In the 51 pages of indictment filed Friday against county fixer J. Kevin Kelley and three others — adding four more figures to the six building inspectors already accused of corruption — one of Kelley’s quotes gathered from extensive federal wiretapping casts the perfect illumination on how business has been done around these parts: “Loyalty makes up for brains any day.”
Kelley had allegedly just talked with county commissioner and Dem boss Jimmy Dimora and Auditor Frank Russo, who assured Kelley that the Alternatives Agency he was consulting for — apart from his duties as the top county computer nerd — wouldn’t lose funding from the county probation department, as previously warned. According to federal prosecutors, Kelley had already plied his buddy Dimora with “expensive meals, travel to New Orleans and at least $1,000” in return for even more funding in 2008 for Kelley’s client.
In January 2008, when other funding opportunities arose for the agency, Kelley, through an unidentified attorney, told Alternatives Agency employee Brian Schuman (also indicted on Friday) to increase his monthly fee by $2,000 for four months, so he could send Dimora, Russo and a Russo companion on a high-stakes junket to Vegas. The next month, Kelley, Schuman and another Alternatives Agency worker were lunching at Delmonico’s in Independence when he called Dimora about the funding matter, which was on the commissioners’ agenda the next day:
Dimora: “Yeah, give ’em more, you mean? Or take it away?”
Kelley: “No. To give ’em back some of their, what you stole from them.”
Dimora (laughing): “I don’t wanna know what you get out of this. I don’t even wanna fucking know.”
Kelley: “I get nothing out of this.”
Dimora: “I don’t even want to know. The less I know the better.”
Kelley: “Definitely. The less you know the better is right.”
And then Kelley again: “Speaking of that, Vegas.”
Shortly after Dimora and Russo got back, Alternatives Agency was the sole bidder on a new work-release program.