Cleveland Union Official Cops Plea Deal in Corruption Web

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Plumbing union official Robert Rybak

Robert Rybak, a top official with the Journeymen Plumbers Union Local 55, has pleaded guilty to charges of that he bribed elected officials to land county jobs for union members and get raises for his wife, an administrator in the county’s human resource department. Rybak initially pleaded not guilty to charges of bribery-related conspiracy, theft from labor unions, theft from employee benefit funds and tampering with a witness and conspiracy to tamper with a witness.

Rybak admitted that he bribed Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and other county officials with free plumbing work, an ice maker and other items of value. Dimora is at the center of a massive corruption investigation involving over 50 people at all levels of government in the county which began in March 2009. So far, prosecutors have obtained over 40 guilty pleas. The highest-ranking official to plead guilty in the investigation, County Auditor Frank Russo, is expected to be sentenced in December to nearly 22 years in prison.

Rybak is to be sentenced January 20 and will get about two years in prison. As part of his plea deal, Rybak will be required to cooperate with authorities and testify against Dimora and others involved in the corruption scandal.

The Plain Dealer

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