Prosecutor Steven Pronai and defense attorney Dominic Vitantonio reached an agreement where Flauto must resign
LONDON, Ohio -- In a plea deal reached Monday, the criminal charge against on-unpaid-administrative-leave Police Chief Thomas J. Flauto, 70, of Solon, for alleged misuse of a law enforcement data base has been dismissed.
Prosecutor Steven Pronai and defense attorney Dominic Vitantonio reached an agreement where Flauto must submit his letter of retirement within 30 days to Mayor Susan Renda.
Flauto was indicted by a Madison County grand jury in February, 2013, where the city of London serves as the county seat and also the home of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Flauto had been the police chief in Moreland Hills for more than 11 years until his Feb. 13, 2013 indictment for allegedly improperly accessing the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation database five years ago -- between June 1 and July 15 of 2008 -- as a favor to then-Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora.
Flauto's charge was a felony. The plea agreement was accepted by Madison County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven P. Bethard, court records show.
A message left for Flauto for comment was not returned.
Dimora was convicted in March, 2012 of racketeering and corruption charges and sentenced to 28 years in federal prison for racketeering, conspiracy, bribery and other corruption charges. His appeal of his conviction was denied.
On July 28, 2008, the FBI and the IRS, with more than 100 agents, conducted simultaneous raids on the homes and offices of many Cuyahoga County businesses and elected officials, including Dimora and then-Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo.
It was later revealed that Dimora and Russo were the main targets but at least 50 other people have pleaded guilty or been found guilty, including two then-Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judges.
What is the connection between Dimora and Flauto?
Flauto was commander of the Bedford Heights detective bureau when Dimora was Bedford Heights mayor.
In preparation for Flauto's trial, subpoenas were served by Cuyahoga County Sheriff's deputies on Dimora's wife, Lori Dimora, at her home in Independence and on two members of the Moreland Hills police department via the police dispatch center.
Subpoenas were also served on Moreland Hills Prosecutor Santo Incorvaia and former Moreland Hills Mayor Charles M. DeGross.
Court documents show that the license plate allegedly searched for was 'GOLFER,' which, at the time, belonged to an Independence woman, according to the Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles.
Flauto, who pleaded not guilty on March 1, 2013, was hired by then-mayor DeGross and was placed on leave by current Mayor Susan Renda.
Flauto was making $83,000 annually.
In mid-March 2013, Renda hired former Maple Heights and Richfield police chief Dale Canter, 67, on a six-month agreement to oversee the 14-person department. Canter was expected to work a 28-hour week for six months at $57.51 an hour.
That original arrangement was extended beyond the six months until after Flauto's case was resolved.
According to Incorvaia, the FBI went to Moreland Hills and Renda in November, 2008 with a subpoena for records, also asking that the village not begin an internal investigation of Flauto.
Nothing was heard about it until the Madison County grand jury indicted Flauto in February, 2013.