The Bagman Buddy System at City Hall - check in with John Zayac

Submitted by lmcshane on Fri, 12/11/2015 - 08:40.

I am not the first person to see the connection between former council person John Zayac (Jackson council era) , his consultant firm The Project Group and lucrative contracts at City Hall.

Leila Atassi ran a great story in 2014 - and like all things in Northeast Ohio - it was promptly forgotten:

The Project Group's principals, former City Councilman John Zayac and Michael Tuan Bustamante, charge $137.50 and $125 per hour, respectively. They, in turn, have contributed thousands of dollars over the years to the so-called Council Leadership Fund, a campaign account controlled by the council president.

However, those of us over in Ward 14 have not forgotten.  And, because most, if not all, of us are fed up - we pay a little more attention to matters.  


Diane Morgan has brought it to my attention that Councilman Brian Cummins recently passed an emergency ordinance benefiting a private company.  Brian received a $250 donation from Mr. Zayac in 2013.  Not exactly a smoking gun - but I think it indicates Zayac's willingness to have the notoriously "Green" Councilman Cummins on his "pay-to-play" team.  The recent transfer of public monies from the Casino Fund to a private individual/company confirms my suspicion.  


Aldo Dure recently (2014) caught up with the back taxes he owed on 3109 West 25th St.  What exactly is the deal on West 25th - as most of the property owners seem to get a pass?  But, not poor Freddie :


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Casino monies to be spent on West 25th St.

Just how much money is Councilman Cummins GIVING to Be Nex Awning and Graphics 50/50 Project at 3109 West 25th????

Stop Cimperman from pulling same stunt as Cummins

Cimperman and Cummins are in cohoots to hand off properties to preferred CDC friends - stop this from happening:

Cummins fundraiser -

Wonder if John Zayac will be there??

Suggested donation $125

Choby contracts-EJB weighs in on Kelley

From EJB Facebook in 2017: 


Y'all need to check this shit out. Kevin Kelley just proved today again why new and remaining members of council would be fools to make him president in 2018.

The woman in the picture is Patti Choby. I don't know her. She's been getting a contract from the city of Cleveland since 2008. It was for $66,000 a year. Kelley wants council to give her another contract for next year. He can't explain what she does. Council has never seen any work product for what she does. Kelly asked council today to give her a new contract for an unspecified amount of money. I'll clarify. By "her" I mean the Cobalt Group.

Check out her website. There ain't shit on it. No clients. No team. No work product. Check it out. She hasn't even explained what she's been doing "for" Cleveland taxpayers on her own website and Kelley wants council to blindly give her a new contract.

For you new council members. Fuck Kelley.

You take office on January 1, 2018. You'll be administered oaths of office to obey two constitutions, federal and state laws, and Cleveland's charter and ordinances. You haven't read them. I know you haven't.

On that day all eyes are on you. It won't matter about your good intentions or past relationships with "the people." You're in the council hot seat. You're going to be watched: not trusted.

Kelley's got all kinds of garbage like this in the legislation he stuffs in front of council. I heard Jeff Johnson and Zack Reed asked questions about the Cobalt Group. In my opinion there should be no questions since Choby's been getting the council majority to award her blind contracts to do whatever-the-fuck since 2008. If you're asking questions 9 years after she's been getting contracts they should have been answered before she got her first contract.

Kelley's got 23 pieces of legislation he's pushing. No doubt most will be emergencies he'll claim is being requested by the department. I'm telling you new council members the directors aren't requesting to give Choby an emergency contract. He's placing "emergency" and "departmental request" on legislation without giving council a copy of the director's emergency request. The charter explains emergencies as being required for the health, welfare and preservation of the city. If council doesn't know what Choby or her Cobalt Group have been doing for 8 years then the contract can't be an emergency.

This is a give-away contract for someone's friend on city council. It could be a relative of someone connected to a council member. Look at the team on her site. Every picture is of Choby.

Voting no on this contract should be a no-brainer. Let's see who on council's got a brain. New council members. Kelley's going to walk your asses right into a firing squad. Don't you put his ass back in the council presidency next year.

Paying the Bagman

Reported by Sam Allard:

Here are the victorious firms in question and their work, in broad strokes: 

  • The Cobalt Group: Patti Choby will provide project management support to Clerk of Council Pat Britt for $66,000. 
  • Mita Marketing: Mary Anne Sharkey will provide public relations expertise and big-picture communications strategy to council and its communications team for $60,000. 
  • Western Reserve Land Conservancy: Former Councilman Jim Rokakis and his Thriving Communities Institute will "continue to work" in the areas of reforestation, demolition funding, code enforcement, green space and property information for $150,000.  
  • The Batchelder Group: The lobbying firm will monitor statewide politics and make legislative recommendations for $48,000, (a $4,000 monthly retainer).  
  • Guy Gadomski, CPA: Among other things, Gadomski will provide monthly budget reviews and analysis for $50,000.  
  • On Technology Partners: The IT firm will provide network support and general assistance to council's IT staff for $80,000.  
  • The Project Group: Former City Councilman John Zayac and his team will provide regular updates, including two semi-annual reports, on "utility-related matters," for $200,000.  

Paying Mary Ann Sharkey to conceal graft at City Hall

My comment will be deleted - thank you REALNEO for helping to keep the truth visible:

WEWS ran a story on abuse of expense accounts. Google it - Plain Dealer editorial board is in bed with politics at City Hall. Former PD editor Mary Ann Sharkey gets a hefty $60K kickback from CLE City Council every year as MITA Consultants