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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

Friday, December 20, 2013

J. Kevin Kelley Sentenced To Six Years In Prison For Bribes

Former Cuyahoga County employee and Parma School Board member J. Kevin Kelley was sentenced today to six years in prison and ordered to pay $605,035 for his involvement in several bribery schemes, federal law enforcement officials announced today.

Kelley, 44, formerly of Parma, previously pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to multiple counts of Hobbs Act conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, conspiracy to commit theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and making false tax returns.

“Kevin Kelley, the last of more than 60 indicted individuals in Operation Airball to be sentenced, exploited his corrupt connections in order to line his pockets,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office. “The FBI will continue efforts to combat misuse of taxpayers’ dollars at any level.”

Kelley previously pleaded guilty to several bribery schemes involving Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo, Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, Anthony O. Calabrese, Ferris Kleem and others.

Kelley admitted to helping organize a bribery scheme in which Cuyahoga County officials Jimmy Dimora and Frank Russo were sent to Las Vegas in exchange for supporting county funding for the agency. Kelley was paid my by Alternatives Agency for “consulting services” and he used a portion of the money to purchase first-class airfare to Las Vegas for Dimora, Russo and Russo’s companion, according to court documents.

Kelley organized the trip in coordination with Ferris Kleem and then helped Kleem get an inspector he specifically requested to the Snow Road resurfacing project, which was being performed by Kleem’s company, according to court documents.

Calabrese hired Kelley as a consultant for Alternatives Agency, paying up to $4,900 a month, but Kelley performed little actual work for the agency. Instead the money was paid in order to obtain favorable consideration from Kelley and others on business matters unrelated to Alternatives Agency, according to court documents.

On several occasions, Kelley also steered county contracts and Parma schools contracts to companies that paid bribes to him or to his friends and associates, according to court documents.

Kelley also filed false tax returns in years 2003-2007 in which he did not disclose $189,659 of income, according to court documents.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Antoinette T. Bacon, Ann C. Rowland and Nancy L. Kelley following an investigation by the FBI and IRS – Criminal Investigation.

Updated March 12, 2015