Bedford Heights: Mayor wants Dimora name erased

5:00 AM, Mar 10, 2012   |    comments
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BEDFORD HEIGHTS -- Twelve years ago, Bedford Heights dedicated its community center to former Mayor Jimmy Dimora.

While there has been a lot of debate over what the convicted commissioner deserves as punishment, Bedford Heights' current mayor says the city deserves a better name for this building than that of a convicted felon.

Lifetime Bedford Heights resident Dion Johnson was collateral damage in a gun fight. Partially paralyzed, he now uses the Jimmy Dimora Community Center to get back on his feet.

By any other name, it would not be the same.

"Jimmy Dimora was the best mayor we had and ever since he been gone, Bedford Heights hasn't been the same since," Johnson said.

What's in a name for Rebecca Vajda is a lesson of respect for her son.

"It's just the reputation. There are a lot of kids that come here. We need to have a good reputation for these kids," Vajda said.

While under indictment, Dimora's face and name appeared on a billboard recognizing the Mayors of Bedford Heights on the city's 50th anniversary.

 Mayor Fletcher Berger said then Dimora deserved the spot. Now that he's been convicted, Mayor Berger wants Dimora's name erased.

In his last year as mayor, Jimmy Dimora swore in then-Councilman now Council President Philip Saunders.

Saunders worked on Dimora's mayoral campaign. He is still in the corner of once close friend.

"If the mayor does ask council to change the name, as the council president I will ask council not to approve it." Saunders said.

Jimmy Dimora's fight to stay out of prison may be over but the fight to preserve his history in Bedford Heights continues.

The mayor was not available for a camera interview but tells Channel 3 over the phone that he expects City Council to draft appropriate legislation for a name change.

The mayor hopes to change the name to the Bedford Heights Community Center because that's who it serves.

WKYC-TV

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