AKRON - A businessman accused of bribing former County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora in return for public contracts pleaded guilty today in federal court as part of a plea deal that could send him to prison for up to eight years, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Michael Forlani, of Gates Mills, is the former president of Doan Pyramid Electric, which used to be one of the largest electrical wiring companies in Ohio.
Forlani will be the 53rd person convicted in the ongoing federal county corruption probe when U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi sentences him on Dec. 6, said U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Michael Tobin.
He pleaded guilty to racketeering, conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, among other charges.
He could face between 70 and 97 months in a federal prison. He also forfeited $900,000, according to court records.
Forlani was charged along with former Dimora last year in a 91-page indictment. Federal prosecutors dropped the charges against Dimora after he was convicted on 33 of 34 federal counts in a separate, unrelated trial.
Prosecutors accused Forlani of bribing Dimora and others with gifts, meals, money and free home improvements in return for help landing contracting work on public projects. Cleveland City Councilwoman Sabra Pierce Scott has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery in connection with the case against Forlani.
The charges revolve around the $125 million Veterans Administration project on University Circle, which included a 2,080-space parking garage, an office building and a 122-bed dwelling for homeless veterans near the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. Doan
Pyramid also won electrical contracts to provide work at the new Juvenile Justice Center and the Louis Stokes VA Hospital.