What's next for the guilty in the Cuyahoga County corruption case?

4:00 PM, Jul 2, 2009   |    comments
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They were the first and only to be charged on June 12, and the first to cooperate with federal authorities who have been investigating the dealings of companies doing business with Cuyahoga County and with county officials, including Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo.

The probe became public last July 28 when 175 FBI and IRS agents raided homes and offices of county officials and companies that do business with the county.

The 30-plus-page plea agreements enacted Wednesday and today for the four men who pleaded guilty, plus their conditions for release, show how they will be cooperating with the federal government in testifying against others who may be charged in the probe.

U.S. District Court Judge Kate O'Malley already released each man on separate $50,000 unsecured bonds.

As a condition of his release, Schuman's travel is restricted to the federal court's Northern Ohio jurisdiction, he may not apply for a passport, he must undergo a psychiatric/mental health evaluation and must avoid all contact with co-defendants Kelley, Payne and Gallagher.

Schuman, 32, of Bedford, who was the former co-director of Alternatives Agency halfway house in Cleveland, pleaded guilty to one count of bribery/conspiracy.

Kelley, 39, has already moved his family from Parma to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area of Florida so O'Malley has allowed him to travel between Northeast Ohio and the Middle Florida federal court jurisdiction.

Kelley must surrender his passport to the district clerk of court's office within two weeks, undergo a psychiatric/mental health evaluation, and "avoid all contact, directly or indirectly, with any persons who are or may become a victim or potential witness in the subject investigation or prosecution," O'Malley's order reads.

Gallagher, 58, must surrender his passport to the clerk of courts, refrain from the use of any alcohol, undergo a psychiatric evaluation and avoid all contact with the co-defendants.

Gallagher admitted in court Thursday morning that he is attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Gallagher also said that he is being treated by a psychologist for stress and anxiety and taking prescription drugs Librium, Zoloft and Xanax .

O'Malley is also allowing Gallagher to travel to the Middle Florida federal court's jurisdiction where Gallagher has a vacation home.

Payne, 54, is allowed to leave Northern Ohio to travel to the Western District of Pennsylvania's federal court district.

He must not apply for a passport, must refrain from using alcohol, must undergo a psychiatric evaluation, avoid all contact with his co-defendants and avoid all contact with anyone who is or may become a victim or a potential witness.

With the exception of Schuman, all three worked for the Cuyahoga County Engineer's office.

On June 12, federal prosecutors filed a 51-page "information" with the court, outlining the case against Gallagher, Schuman, Kelley and Payne.

An information, as opposed to an indictment, is filed when the defendants are cooperating with authorities.

Kelley, who was also president of the Parma school board, and Payne pleaded guilty Wednesday before O'Malley.

Kelley is expected to serve at least six years in federal prison while Payne faces almost seven years in prison.

Gallagher, of Strongsville, was charged with multiple counts of bribery/conspiracy, destruction of records in a federal investigation and filing false tax returns.

When more than 175 FBI and IRS agents raided the offices and homes of select county employees last July 28 in the criminal probe, prosecutors say Gallagher tried to obstruct the investigation by destroying a computer and electronic data.  


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