Cuyahoga County

Anthony O. Calabrese III pleads guilty to corruption charges

November 1, 2013

Cleveland – Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced that attorney Anthony O. Calabrese III entered guilty pleas today in two cases, admitting that he engaged in patterns of corrupt activity that undermined the integrity of public contracting and the judicial system.

Calabrese, 41, of Bentleyville, made his plea before Visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove. Judge Cosgrove sentenced Calabrese to four and one-half years in prison and ordered him to pay fines totaling $25,000.

"Today’s guilty pleas are one step in a process with the objective of rooting out corruption,’’ Prosecutor McGinty said.

The first indictment, issued in January of this year, charged Calabrese and two other attorneys with attempting to bribe a pair of rape victims on behalf of defendant Thomas J. Castro, a previously convicted sex offender. The conspirators sought to change testimony in return for a series of bribes totally $150,000. The scheme sought to keep Castro out of prison by paying the victims to write letters and give favorable testimony urging Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John J. Russo to be lenient at sentencing.

In that case, Calabrese entered guilty pleas to one count of Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity (RICO) and four counts of Bribery.

The second indictment, issued in July, placed Calabrese at the center of a web of bribes, this time aimed at corrupting public contracting in Cuyahoga County and the City of Lorain. The indictment charged that Calabrese arranged payments "understood to be a bribe" to former Parma School Board Member and Cuyahoga County employee Kevin Kelley in exchange for inside information about the county’s purchase of the Ameritrust complex. The indictment also charged that Calabrese used his position as counsel to Alternatives Agency, a Cleveland halfway house, to arrange payments to Kelley and others who did "little or no work" for the agency. Additionally, one recipient of the nonprofit agency’s money, co-defendant and former Lorain official Sanford A. Prudoff, used his influence to help Calabrese and his law firm get roughly $1.3 million in bond counsel work from the city.

In this second case, Calabrese entered guilty pleas to one RICO count, two counts of Bribery and one count of Theft.

Calabrese has been serving a nine-year federal sentence for his role in the Cuyahoga County corruption case. Judge Cosgrove ordered that his sentence on state charges run concurrently with his federal sentence.

Before sentencing, Judge Cosgrove told Calabrese that his behavior "demeans all of us who are attorneys."

Contact: Joseph Frolik, Director of Communications and Public Policy. Phone: (216) 443-7488 or Cell: (216) 640-6186

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