Update: Everyone seems to want to chat with Frank Russo. The PD, taxpayers, us, and now WKYC.
The station sent The Investigator to talk with the former auditor about his life as a free snitch. It did not go well. Some details from WKYC's investigative Investigator report:
Channel 3 News undercover cameras spotted Russo partying and having a good time at the Twist, a popular nightclub on Clifton near W. 117th Street.
Those who are close to Russo say he's a regular.
Russo has also been seen eating out at a number of local restaurants, including one in Tremont where a patron demanded to know why he wasn't in prison while Jimmy Dimora was.
"How do you afford to eat out and go to nightclubs when you owe the government millions?" asked Meyer.
"I'm here to do a job, not to talk to you," Russo said.
"Stop being so mean and stop being cruel to human beings."
Video below that includes WKYC's undercover shots of Russo at Twist. Scandalous.
"Stop being so mean."
The Investigator kind of comes off like a prick, too.
The Plain Dealer tried to check in with former Auditor and current government rat Frank Russo to see what he's been up to and yes, when he's not being abruptly interrogated outside of Grumpy's by taxpayers, he's just roaming around doing his thing.
It's been a year and a half since a judge declared that Russo, who pocketed millions of dollars running his half of the Cuyahoga County corruption machine, would spend years behind bars. Of course, in that time, he turned in his Get Out of Jail Free card to the Feds, rolling over on all his former buds and assisting the FBI in its investigation. He's still slated to testify in a couple more trials, but not for months and months. For now, he's free to buy sunglasses and make breakfast and do some light pilates with no imminent jail time in sight.
"I think this dude’s going to die of natural causes before he spends a day in prison," said Leif Christman, the defense attorney for former county employee Michael Gabor, who was convicted of racketeering and six other charges in March.
"He stole $2 million, but he gets to stay free? Lock up Frank Russo," Christman said.
The Feds say it's essential to have Russo close, like sunning himself at his lakefront condo, because they rely on frequent conversation with him to lock down cases.
To require FBI agents to meet with Russo at the prison in Loretto — about an hour drive east of Pittsburgh — would "place a significant strain on government resources," Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Rowland said in one court filing.
The prospect of shipping documents and recordings to the prison "would present insurmountable logistical and security problems," Rowland added.
Roger Synenberg, Russo’s attorney, said it’s a misconception to believe the prosecutors don’t need his client until the Calabrese trial in September.
"They work with him all the time," Synenberg said. "They met about a week ago, and they’re meeting with him again soon."
So the government's broke and Russo likes to chat? We all caught up now?