Cimperman under investigation by Ohio Ethics Commission

Submitted by lmcshane on Wed, 08/26/2015 - 21:14.

Subject: Councilman Joe Ciperman Attempting Illegal Spot Rezoning in Popular Ohio City Neighborhood
Reply-To: Andrew Philbin 
I would like to bring to your attention a story of political corruption unfolding in the popular Ohio City neighborhood.  With the increase in popularity of Hinge Town, we have seen an onslaught of real estate developers buying up land in the vicinity and attempting construction of modern townhomes and apartment buildings in an area that is zoned for single family and two family homes.  They purchase the land knowing full well that the current regulations will not legally allow their construction but for significant variances that must be granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals.  The majority of residents of this neighborhood are in an uproar regarding what has been occurring here.  We have gone to our councilman, Joe Ciperman, but have found that our concerns fall on deaf ears.  Joe is electing to fight for the concerns of large real estate developers rather than his constituents.  These real estate developers have been some of the largest campaign contributors for councilman Ciperman’s run for city council and his failed attempt at a run for US Congress. 
Because of the lack of support we have received from our councilman, the neighborhood has come together to fight against the irresponsible over-development of our historic district.  We have attended Board of Zoning Appeals hearings which have very specific legal guidelines for the approval of variances sought by builders. The builder must be able to show some sort of difficulty such as a topographical deformity that prevents them from developing the land within the current zoning code.  They must be able to show they will sustain a financial loss if they are not granted variances.  They also must be able to demonstrate they had NO knowledge of the building code prior to their land purchases.  It is extremely easy to prove these points in front of the Board of Zoning Appeals.  Unfortunately, we have only been successful in stopping one builder from developing 15 town homes on a parcel of land which is zoned for single family homes and would typically fit only 3-4 homes.  Although we make a sound legal argument to which the builders have ZERO response, the board almost exclusively rules in favor of the weak argument presented by the councilman. 
We the concerned residents, have now taken these matters further and have sought costly litigation to appeal these invalid decisions.  Fortunately, the councilman’s corruption hasn’t found its way to the court system. Recently, a select few in the neighborhood received a leaflet stating a notice of public hearing regarding the rezoning of ONE CITY BLOCK!  This is an illegal action called spot rezoning.  Councilman Ciperman has resorted to spot rezoning because of current litigation for a project proposed on Clinton Avenue between W. 32nd and W. 29th.  This case is currently being tried in the Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas and is not going well for Councilman Ciperman.  His spot rezoning is the political equivalent of a toddler holding his breath because he isn’t getting his way.  If Councilman Ciperman is successful in his illegal spot rezoning, he will render the current litigation taking place moot and will completely stop the legal process from taking place.  He is attempting to change the law for the benefit of one citizen who has greased his palm in the past causing detriment to his constituency. 
Another unfortunate predatory tactic being used is silencing the voices of those who are not property owners.  Ohio City Incorporated is a community advocacy group that is supposed to have a mission statement of “Leading the development of Ohio City by serving a diverse community of committed people, driving new investments in and preserving the history of a unique place, and promoting an authentic urban neighborhood.”  And a vision of “Ohio City is Cleveland’s most complete neighborhood, a destination for celebrating the urban experience and an ideal setting to make a home, raise a family, start a business, serve others, and live a full life..”  Ohio City Incorporated partners with Councilman Ciperman in an attempt to assist real estate developers in exacting as much profit as possible from their parcels of land in Ohio City.  OCI officials attend block club meetings in neighborhoods that they don’t reside and vote in favor of the builders projects.  A current proposal at W. 38th St. and Clinton Avenue is located right next to an apartment building owned by OCI.  The residents of this apartment have not been allowed to express their concern regarding new construction proposed at W. 38th and Clinton.  In fact, they were not made aware of the project at all. Unfortunately, due to current code, the residents of OCI’s apartment building are not allowed to install window air conditioner units.  Their only source of cooling air is the breeze that comes in by opening their west facing windows which currently are completely unobstructed.  If the proposed apartment building is constructed, their view and breeze will be completely blocked.  Fortunately, other neighbors and I care enough to take on the appeals litigation that we will be filing this week to stop this project. 
I would love the chance to be able to spread this message to all of the residents of Councilman Ciperman’s ward.  If he is successful in his illegal spot rezoning, a precedent will be set which Joe will attempt to use over and over again.  My goal is to have the city hall conference room overflowing with concerned residents on September 4th who will not stand for the rights of corporations and political contributors being put before a much larger constituency base.  I also would like to speak directly with the mayor regarding his councilman’s rogue actions and how this should be addressed.  If these developers are willing to change their plans and develop responsible housing within the current zoning regulations not only will I support their new plans, I will attend Board of Zoning Appeals hearings and speak in their favor.  We would love to see responsible development that personifies the supposed mission statement and vision of Ohio City Incorporated. 
Thank you for your time,
Andrew P. Philbin


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CDC politics - Cimperman et al. ad nauseum

see comments to articles below- we here at REALNEO have known for some time that the development corporations and council reps work for developers - not residents.  NEOMG is very slow to respond - they should, of course, also look at the "Land Bank" and potential for gross ethical violations there, too.

Please scroll up to see concerns about illegal spot zoning also taking place in Ohio City at behest of the council rep.  Also covered tonight 8/28/15 by Joe Pagonakis

More great coverage from Joe Pagonakis...


PD editorial board's reaction on Joe Cimperman ethics investigation and my comment:

Here's an excerpt from a PD article- to help  the editors remember what their job entails -could you try and  break this cycle?


BUSINESSES CHIP IN TO KEEP MAJORITY OF CITY COUNCIL Plain Dealer, The (Cleveland, OH) - Friday, September 17, 1993 Author: BENJAMIN MARRISON and CATHERINE L. KISSLING PLAIN DEALER REPORTERSBig Business is PAC-ing in the money for Cleveland City Council. 


PACs,or political action committees, account for nearly one-third of the money raised by a newly formed "Council Leadership Fund," which has collected $135,563 to retain a majority of council members who face re-election this year, according to documents filed yesterday with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. 

Political action committees representing area law firms, businesses and developers, many of which represent interests that do business with the city, contributed $42,800 to the fund.