UNRELIABLE WITNESSES, SUPPRESSED EVIDENCE, AND A DEAD WHISTLEBLOWER
Last Wednesday an extensive report was released examining the story of Tony Viola and his multiple credible allegations of prosecutorial misconduct against former Cuyahoga County prosecutor Dan Kasaris (now Senior Assistant Ohio Attorney General) and former U.S. Attorney Mark Bennett. Viola was one of thousands prosecuted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis by a mortgage fraud task force assembled during Mike DeWine’s tenure as Attorney General.
At the heart of the report is the tragic tale of Dawn Pasela, the office manager of the task force who became a whistleblower when she stepped forward to reveal to Viola all of what Kasaris and Bennett had done to secure his conviction in the federal trial. In addition to wearing a wire to illegally spy on Viola for the prosecutors, Pasela witnessed evidence being mishandled and suppressed, and became aware of a sexual relationship between Kasaris and Kathryn Clover, a material witness who was called in multiple cases prosecuted by the task force.
Pasela secretly assisted Viola in securing an acquittal in state court of all the identical charges he faced at the federal trial by supplying him with the exculpatory evidence hidden by the prosecution. She eventually agreed to testify in open court to all of the behavior she witnessed. Once her involvement became known to the prosecution, Pasela received a barrage of intimidation via phone calls, emails, and agents showing up at her home telling her to leave town or face prosecution. The night before she was scheduled to testify, Pasela died suspiciously, allegedly from an accidental alcohol overdose.
PRESS CONFERENCE DETAILS
On Monday December 6th at 5:00 pm EST, a press conference will be held (in person and via livestream) from Viola’s home in Cleveland Heights, where he is currently serving out the remainder of his federal sentence under house arrest. In addition to Viola, the following people will be making brief statements and taking questions:
- Brian “BZ” Douglas, journalist with State of Injustice who investigated this story
- Kelly Patrick, Dan Kasaris’ ex-sister-in-law who was interviewed in part 1 of this investigation about separate allegations of misconduct
- Edward and Karen Pasela, Dawn’s parents
This will be the first time the Paselas will be making themselves available to the press. Their daughter’s death has never been fully investigated, nor has the illegal behavior she witnessed and participated in as part of the mortgage fraud task force.
The goal of this press conference is to lay out all of the unexplored branches of this investigation and to provide journalists with key documents. Since releasing the report, several more people have come forward to share their own stories of misconduct by Kasaris and Bennett. It should be understood by activists, journalists, and lawmakers that Dan Kasaris and Mark Bennett should not be considered an endpoint for this investigation, but an entry point into a much larger issue.
This event has limited physical attendance capacity, but press are invited to join remotely, send inquiries for attendance details to [email protected]. The livestream will be embedded at https://stateofinjustice.com/pressroom
Those attending are highly encouraged to read the report, which includes hours of interviews, and links to supporting documentation. Those planning on questioning the Paselas should read their brief but damning affidavits regarding their daughter’s story.
ATTENDING IN SOLIDARITY
- The People’s Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland
- Brenda Bickerstaff – Lead Organizer for Issue 24
- Black Lives Matter Cleveland
- Chasing Justice, LLC
STATE OFFICES & AGENTS NOTIFIED
In addition to local, state, and national press, this release will be sent to the following government officials and agencies, who are encouraged to review the report and attend the press conference:
Governor Mike DeWine’s office
Laurel Dawson – Chief of Staff
Dan Tierney – Press Secretary
Jordan Conner – Press Assistant
Ann O’Donnell – Chief Advisor to the Governor
Attorney General Dave Yost’s office
Bethany McCorkle – Communications Director
Steve Irwin – Press Secretary
Luke Sullivan – Deputy Press Secretary
Ohio Ethics Commission
Paul Nick – Executive Director
Susan Willeke – Education and Communications Administrator
Ohio Board of Professional Conduct
Supreme Court of Ohio Board of Professional Conduct
Sent via fax (614) 387-9379
Patricia A. Wise – Chair