TO THE HOT TAKE CANNON
Husband of Ohio charity board chairperson convicted of conspiring to bribe a public official with a Beanie Wells jersey.
Edit: Thanks to MGoUser Feat of Clay for pointing out a couple of errors in this post. Neiheiser himself was not on the board as I mistakenly said, but his wife is the Chairperson. And DiGeronimo dropped off the list of Trustees sometime between the 2010 auction and today. I've made the necessary corrections below.
This has flown under the radar, probably because we hadn't yet been introduced to these folks when the sentence was handed down.
Cleveland (AP) - A Gates Mills contractor indicted in the Cuyahoga County corruption investigation has been sentenced to three years and one month in federal prison.
The U.S. Attorney's office says William Neiheiser was sentenced Wednesday on four conspiracy counts.
Neiheiser pleaded guilty last year. Investigators say he plotted to bribe then-Cuyahoga County commissioner Jimmy Dimora with free or discounted home improvements and a Chris “Beanie” Wells football jersey that drew $3,600 at a charity auction.
Charity auction? Charity auction. Yes, this was the 2008 version of the Cornerstone of Hope auction, the auction that in 2011 saw Terrelle Pryor carrying envelopes of cash for his teammates. William Neiheiser's wife Linda is Chairperson of the Cornerstone board of trustees; Robert diGeronimo, the OSU booster who acknowledged providing said cash, also served on the board.
The WTAM story's a bit unclear, but the federal indictment of Dimora for corruption (charges for tax evasion are also pending) fills in some details:
- Neiheiser's company's was bidding on a project with the county. Neiheiser told Commissioner Dimora that if he won the contract "they [Dimora and Neiheiser] could have fun for two years."
- At the Cornerstone of Hope auction, Neiheiser suggested that Dimora should buy the Beanie Wells jersey. He did, for $3600.
- The next day, Dimora cashed a check from Neiheiser for $3600.
I don't know if Neiheiser gets an honorarium for serving on the charity's board, but if he does it would close the circle on the cash very nicely. Everybody ends up whole, and Dimora has a Beanie jersey and a tax deduction for his contribution to the charity (the net of the $3600 over market value of the jersey). [Ed.- Per Feat of Clay, neither Neiheiser nor his wife receives an honorarium.]
And the FBI and IRS start nosing around a charity dealing in OSU football memorabilia, and TP gets questioned about it during his supplemental draft reinstatement interviews.
Somebody should do a documentary, following each OSU jersey from its birth in a garment factory through its life on the football field to its eventual demise in an FBI evidence bin. Federal drug bust? Corruption investigation? You never know where it will end up....
(The attempted bribe didn't work, by the way. Neiheiser didn't win the contract.)