EJB Again, again, and again . . . By: Eric Brewer
Eric Brewer – Former East Cleveland Mayor
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 – The FBI has been “in” East Cleveland for the past three years investigating the mayor and his cronies who’ve been looting city hall. I’ve been told that the investigation may include allegations about misconduct in the municipal court. That information was shared with me last week. We’ll see the outcome if and when FBI agents raid city hall, the court and Norton’s homes in East Cleveland and Shaker Heights.
Let me share with East Cleveland residents just how bad things are in their city. I had about 280 employees. The number of employees Norton supervises if and when he shows up for work is around 107. I was up to about 80 employees in the police department alone, both full and part-time. The police department is about half that number today. Don’t expect any service this summer and the cut-off of garbage collection services was only narrowly avoided when he paid Rumpke. Some of the money Norton used to pay the waste collection bill last week made his meeting payroll expenses this week that much more difficult. The state is expecting him to be unable to meet payroll by August. I’m still of the mindset that the city will be unable to meet its expenses by either the end of this month or next.
As broke as East Cleveland is today, Judge Will Dawson just gave several employees raises. One raise was about 15 percent. He said the employees deserved it, but the city’s broke, and has been broke since Norton and Dawson took office. It is absolute management madness to deliver raises to employees with public funds that don’t exist.
Finance director Jack Johnson is part-time and works two days a week. All he’s doing is handling basic duties that require a finance director’s signature. He’s not working on Norton’s financial recovery plan that’s been due since before the city was placed in fiscal emergency in 2012.
Collette Clinkscale took her incompetent ass to Cleveland Heights, and has resigned. Norton is still paying her $34 an hour as chief of staff, and he’s still paying Ralph Spotts and Dan Heglaw even though they retired. His other so-called chief of staff is another thieving dummy by the name of Mike Smedley. Dude lost a daycare because he couldn’t keep children safe and meet state standards. The Tattler has described him as Norton’s “bag man.”
Norton cut a side “deal” with Spotts and Heglaw to continue paying their wages and medical benefits though they’re no longer employed with the city. Why? Because he couldn’t afford to cash out their $50,000 or so in unused time. He told the media Spotts retired to save 8 police jobs. That’s bullshit. Spotts stole extra money on top of his authorized $67,000 salary to the tune of about $25,000 extra per year to jack up his retirement earnings. He wanted to retire and have his pension and payouts based on $92,000 instead of the $67,000 council authorized per year over the past 4 years. I hope the Feds are investigating that theft. I heard he almost got his ass kicked by a Cleveland Heights cop over his dispatcher girlfriend.
The problem with Norton’s payouts is that the city has a “use it or lose it” ordinance on the books that he’s ignored. There is no way to accumulate unused vacation time or comp time past one or two years under the ordinance. There’s no payout for sick time. Any claim against the city that extends beyond the last two years is illegal, but Norton hasn’t cared about laws since the board of elections began allowing him to break them. Any claim that the union agreement trumps the charter or ordinance is bullshit. The agreement specifically says that whatever ordinances and charter amendments are in effect at the time its signed are binding. The ordinances have been on the books for at least a decade.
Employee medical benefits? Forget it. Norton came up with some type of “employee funded” (self-pay) medical benefits plan but the money isn’t going into the separate account council established. It’s going into the general fund and the mayor is using it to cover other expenses, notably payroll. All he’s paying is payroll. Council can’t even get its copier fixed, while Norton and (Jack) Johnson have stopped sending them lists of hires and purchases.
Norton’s tried to gain access to HUD funds to cover the city’s past due bills and payroll, but you’ll recall the letter he received from HUD’s Jorgelle Lawson telling him not to draw down a dime in federal funds. The FBI ain’t gonna play with him for fucking with federal funds.
Norton walked out of the Financial Planning & Supervision Commission last week after its chairwoman, Sharon Hanrahan, asked the dwarf-sized mayor how he was planning to raise money to keep the city financially afloat. “Through bake sales,” she said rather sarcastically. Instead of answering the question, Norton told the commission he had to leave for a doctor’s appointment. He lied to the governmental body during its official proceeding, because he actually went to conduct an interview with WEWS so its news team could help him spread more lies.
It’s become apparent to Hanrahan and the commission that Norton doesn’t have a clue about managing the city, that he’s a liar who lacks any credibility. He has no business sense, and is still giving away the city’s assets. Hanrahan openly describes the city as “broke.”
Norton told the commission that the city “sold” property that GE once owned to a buyer, but what he didn’t say is that the city hasn’t collected the money. The buyer is dismantling the building, selling parts for scrap and pocketing the cash.
Hanrahan and her colleagues on the commission recently and unanimously approved a resolution giving Norton until the end of May 2014 to create a financial recovery plan. The commission’s approval of the resolution formalizes the order and now makes it a duty imposed upon the office of the mayor. Failure to comply could come with criminal dereliction of duty charges, and the request could come from the state’s attorney general.
$8 million in Cleveland Clinic money was received and spent in violation of the city’s charter. Norton didn’t use it to cure the city’s deficits and he still hasn’t publicly accounted for it. He gave it to people of his choosing without council approval or public participation. Who the fuck is Brother or Bishop Paul and why did Norton give him $97,000 out of the $8 million in Cleveland Clinic funds? How did $97,000 to Paul benefit the city? Council needed to approve the payout and didn’t. The deal with Paul wasn’t legal. Does anyone know this guy?
Dozens of East Cleveland landbank properties have been handed out to Norton’s associates through Smedley, Trevelle Harp and others without city council approval. You should see who’s trying to get a house for $1000 that the county appraised for $90,000. Newly-elected councilman Brandon King. King – who has falsely claimed to live with his look-alike brother on Elsinore – originally offered $100 for the property. Wonder if Brandon lived there when his brother was arrested for dealing drugs out of it?
The former owner’s mortgage company just paid off the mortgage for $136,000 before the property King wants was taken into the landbank. King has sponsored legislation requested by Melran Leach so he can buy the landbank property for $1000 even though the property was supposed to first be appraised.
Elected officials are prohibited by all kinds of Ohio laws from using the offices they hold to enrich themselves. Look at what’s happening to Jackie Middleton at CEOGC. Do these fools think they’re immune?
I doubt that the rest of council will go along with it, but the fact that King sponsored legislation which only benefits him confirms what the East Cleveland Tattler said about him being an incoming thief. He’s proven only that he bears watching. Even if the legislation is retracted, he still used his office to sponsor it for his personal benefit, and that is theft in office. These are greedy, thieving assholes who don’t care about laws.
I’m saying, East Cleveland residents, that your mayor and those he supervises are thieves. People you thought cared for the city have stolen from it. Those holding office are stealing from it and they’re giving everything they can to their relatives and friends. One of Gary’s in-laws got a no-bid $500,000 development contract with federal funds and died, Robert Eaton. Your city is being robbed “blind” and you need to be inside city hall, at all the meetings, asking questions. Some residents are getting the message. There’s growing talk of a recall but no one has yet come forward with petitions and a replacement candidate. No one’s really pushing the merger in city government, and these assholes aren’t going away by themselves. If you do nothing, you’ll have nothing.
Norton recently held his town hall meeting, and NOAH robo-called the entire city to try and beef up attendance. Residents showed up to hear the idiot they elected, but this time was different. All that “rah, rah” shit was gone. They weren’t applauding his statements. They weren’t calling him the best EC mayor … ever. They sat silently, listened and then talked among themselves afterwards. Said one resident in attendance, “We don’t believe anything he says.”
I read an interview with Norton that was conducted by one of his supporters. It was actually pretty pathetic.
Norton blamed the deficits on the “past” council, not on his overspending the budget council approved every year. He said if they’d increased the budget to the amount he was spending, there’d be no deficit.
That type of statement shows how stupid he is, and explains why Sharon Hanrahan asked Norton the “bake sale” question. If council had increased the budget to keep up with Norton’s spending, the one thing this fool forgets is that he’s still got to raise money to cover expenses. Seriously, this dummy thinks deficits exist only on paper and have nothing to do with revenue and expenses.
In his mind, council should have let him spend at a rate of $20 million a year when he was only collecting $7 million a year in revenue. A $13 million gap between what’s on paper and what’s in the bank gets explained, in his stupid mind, by council and the commission only focusing on the budgeted dollar figure and ignoring the “revenue” side of the budget.
If I were Norton I’d shut up trying to explain anything about the city’s finances. All he does is make himself look more stupid every time he opens his mouth. What Norton knows about money is how to steal and mismanage it, and he’s not that good at stealing. It’s why the FBI is investigating his dumb ass.
Jason Richard Goodrick I honestly believe that they do NOT think anyone is really watching or cares. I think they believe you are bluffing and that they are all safe. I care about the people in that town so I seriously hope that someone intervenes soon. Honestly, what are .
Eric Jonathan Brewer If the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice allows the theft of $8 million from the residents of East Cleveland, and the life threatening mismanagement of millions in public funds go unpunished, the rule of law in America does not exist. I felt the same..
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