AKRON -- Ferris Kleem took the witness stand Wednesday morning and testified to providing thousands and thousands of dollars worth of meals and other items for Jimmy Dimora.
Kleem, who already pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, said he became friends with Dimora when he was mayor of Bedford Heights and was first running for Cuyahoga County Commissioner.
Among other instances, Kleem said he gave Dimora a 50-inch flat screen TV, a refrigerator, $2,000 in cash towards a Rolex watch and always contributed to the county Democratic Party and its candidates.
Kleem said he gave the owner of Sheiban jewelers $2,000 in cash to augment the cost of the Submariner Rolex watch which was already discounted 25 percent.
Then Kleem added, "I have given him cash" as well at other times. Kleem said he also paid for all the meals he ever had with Dimora and even paid for the meals of friends Dimora brought with him.
For example, Kleem said he was at a fundraiser for Frank Russo with Dimora in the Flats once and whispered to the two men that he would like them to join him for dinner at the restaurant down the street called Majorca.
Kleem said that when Russo and Dimora arrived at Majorca for dinner with Kleem, "they brought 14 to 20 people with them...and the bill was $4,000...and I paid the (entire) bill..."
Kleem said he was born in Lebanon and came to the United States in 1976 with his brother Tony and "...we each had $50 in our pockets..."
Kleem said he paid for meals for Dimora and Dimora's friends about 3 or 4 times a year.
Kleem said he gave Dimora cash and gifts "...because I didn't want to fall out of favor (with Dimora)...."
He said he did what he did for Dimora and whatever Dimora wanted because "I wanted to gain influence in Cuyahoga County and help my businesses."