April 20, 2014

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Attorney sentenced to nine years in corruption probe

Attorney Anthony Calabrese III was sentenced to nine years in federal prison Thursday in an Akron courtroom in connection with a widespread public corruption probe in Cuyahoga County that has led to convictions and prison terms for dozens of people.

Calabrese

Calabrese

Calabrese, 40, pleaded guilty in January to 18 of 20 federal charges against him, including racketeering and bribery.

Calabrese’s corruption case was tied to his arranging bribes to now-convicted ex-Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, and former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo related to a 2008 junket to Las Vegas that was paid for by executives of the Cleveland-based Alternatives Agency halfway house.

Calabrese, of Chagrin Falls, who once did legal work for the city of Lorain, was also accused of bribing Russo to lower the value of a Euclid senior community center by $24 million.

Calabrese was ordered to pay more than $132,000 in restitution as part of Thursday’s sentencing by federal judge Sarah Lion, who recommended that Calabrese be placed at a federal prison close to his home.

Mike Tobin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland said Calabrese will not be eligible for parole.

“Nine years means nine years,” Tobin said

In 2011, Calabrese and former Lorain Community Development Director Sandy Prudoff were indicted for their part in a criminal conspiracy in which Calabrese allegedly used his position as legal counsel for a Cleveland halfway house to hire Prudoff and others as consultants who did little or no work in exchange for their fees, Cuyahoga County prosecutors said.

Prudoff is serving a two-year federal sentence after he pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.