Mayor Gary “Durango” Norton wants Cleveland to take his job

THEnoseWith the low voter turnout November 4, 2014 East Cleveland Mayor Gary “Durango” Norton is ready to put his plan into action. He started this plan by overspending on on things such as his nickname Dodge Durango truck as well as a fleet of police cars.  Heat for employees is now optional and the jail and other sections of city hall are given very little toilet tissue forcing some employees to bring their own Charmin tissue with them to work.

Norton has continued hiring new people despite the fact that there is rarely enough money showing in the bank to make payroll. City Hall employees have to endure no heat in the building and not being able to bring in heaters to make life tolerable.  Firefighters are treated like unwanted guests at this party as Norton refuses to spend any money to purchase much needed safety gear or working ambulances.   Service Department employees are constantly treated like field slaves as Norton forces them to work with non-functional tools and equipment.  DSC04582

Despite the Ohio Group coming in telling Norton to stop his reckless spending Norton does things like buy two brand new snow plows when the city has no rock salt to make the trucks useful. It is expected that Norton will empty out stores like Home Depot to get enough rock salt (at retail prices) for his new salt trucks.

While Norton does his damage his sidekick and “Chief of Staff” Michael Smedley works deals out to open up new business locations and homes around East Cleveland without going through city council the whole town is watching.


Law Director Ronald Riley continues assisting Norton and his vendetta by suing employees and other people who have already won law suites against the city. The Law Department also make sure that there is is absolutely no transparency in the way of releasing public records that might just show Norton has taken over forty-thousand dollars a year which is is his salary and what they voters said in 2012.


The election of 2014 was supposed give Norton a ticket to ride the coat tails of  Ed FitzGerald trying to go to the Governors Mansion in Columbus.  That ride in his Durango  ended with a decisive win by incumbent Governor John Kasich .   Now the only thing left for Norton to do is to bamboozle all of his loyal followers into believing that merger with the city of Cleveland is our only option.


Voters will be asked whether or not recall of Mayor Gary “Durango” can be the answer at this point while everyone waits for magical help from the federal government, men and women in black.    Some counsel members such as Thomas J. Wheeler and Mansell Baker are vehemently against merging with Cleveland and  more unauthorized openings like McCalls Motel from opening up their Motel Convenience Store.  Even with a united city council  it appears that nothing can be done to stop the Norton destruction of the city and people sidestepping the law by opening up new business without building permits, and approval by City Council.menandwomeninblack

One Comment to Mayor Gary “Durango” Norton wants Cleveland to take his job

  1. Eric Brewer says:

    Eric Brewer – Businesses paying the mayor instead of the city

    To: “Hanrahan, Sharon” ,,,,
    Cc:,,Mansell Baker

    Ms. Hanrahan,

    I write to share some insight from my experiences as an FBI witness against a former East Cleveland mayor. My insights may explain why certain funds have not been deposited into the city’s treasury under the current mayor. I was the former mayor’s chief of staff. The auditor of state’s office should have a letter I wrote to Jim Petro when he served in that capacity . It was a request by me for him to investigate the controversial $3.6 million a year no-bid OMI/CH2M Hill water management contract for its legality. That document was used by federal prosecutors Steve Dettelbach and Benita Pearson as a roadmap for how the deal was structured.

    One of the former mayor’s practices was to deal directly with business and property owners who needed council approval for certain acts in lieu of their dealing with city employees. Instead of paying the city, they paid him. I know he was paid $1000 by an Elderwood Street property owner who wanted to evict 6 mothers and 17 children from a building whose rents were current, and without going through eviction proceedings. The former mayor then created a sham process he called a “voluntary condemnation.” He posted a notice on the building ordering every out within 30 days. He then sent city employees on the day of his deadline to forcibly remove them and board up the property. I reported his act to council and asked for an investigation.

    Under the current mayor demolition fees have been “waived” in violation of an ordinance that only authorizes council to waive them. He did it with Independence Excavating to demolish Huron Hospital. I was informed by a former employee that he’s extended similar favors to contractors who are members of his Kappa fraternity, and who received contracts paid for with federal block grant funds. The employee has been in communication with HUD’s inspector general.

    There are businesses that have opened in the city whose owners did not come before the board of zoning appeal and subsequently receive council approval. They’ve also erected signs and engaged in new construction without council approval. The majority have failed to pay their annual certificate of business occupancy fees. All of this has occurred with the mayor’s illegal approval … alone.

    Pick a new construction or renovation project along Euclid Avenue, compare the the scope of the project to the ordinances that support it, and you’ll see the current mayor has failed to collect and deposit tens of thousands of dollars in fees for permits. The new gas station next to Shaw High School. The new gas station at Euclid and Delmont. The new liquor establishment in McCall’s motel. I’ve heard from council members that none of these projects were approved by them. Agendas reveal they’ve never authorized the mayor to waive a dime in fees. The diminished building department income is proof the dollars aren’t coming to the city.

    I share the background above because I spoke to two land bank property owners in 2012 who sought my insight on how to keep a property they did not complete renovating from returning to the city. Under council’s land bank ordinance, only council can award a land bank property to a buyer. The buyer is also required to have the property renovated within one year or it returns to the city. If you check the land bank properties that have been disposed of under Norton, you’ll see they’ve been awarded without council approval and that he’s taken no steps to recapture those that have not been renovated. Every property awarded was supposed to be sold at a market rate price and after an appraisal was performed. Where’s the appraisal and the cash? Who collected the money for the properties if the funds weren’t deposited into the city’s treasury?

    The two individuals I spoke with in 2012 recorded a conversation they had with Mike Smedley, Norton’s chief of staff. During that conversation Smedley told them to make a check payable to the mayor’s campaign committee.

    It would require a minor administrative effort to identify every new construction or commercial renovation projects that have taken place in East Cleveland, including all the demolition projects, and to correspond the fees to the scope of the project and to verify their non-existence in the city’s accounts. It’s too bad council lacks the leadership under its current president to investigate the erosion of city funds. A hearing with the property owner and contractors can quickly ascertain where the money they were supposed to pay in fees went.

    It would require minimal effort to obtain the mayor’s campaign finance report to identify the names of donors who also do business inside or with the city. A fundraiser, as an example, was held at former chief of staff Collette Clinkscale’s home in Orange in 2013. City merchants and vendors were invited to her home. The donors were not identified individually as they were required to be by campaign finance reporting laws. Norton’s treasurer identified them as a group by the total amount collected, which hid the individual identity of each donor. Clinkscale’s testimony under oath would reveal the identity of each person she invited to her home.

    I know the state is dealing with an elected official whose penchant for dishonesty and withholding information is becoming well-known. I hope these insights help.

    Eric Jonathan Brewer

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