City Club -State of the County 2016

Submitted by lmcshane on Sat, 04/16/2016 - 05:06.
City Club -State of the County 2016
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Will Budish shut down Land Bank? #STOC2016


I will give Budish some credit, that so far, he suspended third party tax lien sales initiated by the Rokakis-Frangos outfit.

Stay tuned Northeast Ohio.  Dimora-Russo were nothing compared to the Greektown con artists.


About Us

The mission of the Cuyahoga Land Bank is to strategically acquire properties, return them to productive use, reduce blight, increase property values, support community goals and improve the quality of life for county residents.

When Cuyahoga County found itself at the epicenter of the nationwide foreclosure crisis starting in 2006, a collaborative group of minds, including then Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis, current Land Bank President and General Counsel Gus Frangos, Senators Tim Grendel, Bob Spada and chief legislative sponsor Tom Patton, State Representative Matt Dolan, Cleveland Council Members Jay Westbrook and Tony Brancatelli and members of the county's non-profit and academic community came together to do something about it. These efforts resulted in innovative approaches and policies and the formation of the Cuyahoga County Land Bank as a separate non-profit, government-purposed entity tasked to:

  1. strategically acquire blighted properties
  2. return them to productive use through
    1. a. rehabilitation
    2. b. sale to new private owners
    3. c. demolition
    4. d. preparation for traditional economic development
    5. e. creative reuse such as gardening, green space, storm water management
    6.     or other innovative and ecological purposes
  3. increase property values through these efforts
  4. support community goals through collaborations with Cuyahoga's individual
    communities, governments, lenders, and individual property owners;
  5. and improve the quality of life for Cuyahoga County's residents through its efforts

The Cuyahoga Land Bank is funded by a variety of sources. The primary funding comes from the accumulation of penalties and interest on collected delinquent real estate taxes and assessments. Because much of this particular funding results from the addition of penalty and interest on collected delinquent real estate taxes, very little if any primary levied taxes are used to fund the operations of the Land Bank. This primary revenue stream is supplemented by grants from the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s partners, the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s sale of acquired properties to qualified rehabbers and housing developers, as well as the donations and recoupment of funds from various banks.

The Cuyahoga Land Bank has the ability to acquire vacant and abandoned foreclosed properties from a variety of sources, including those held by banks, by government sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae, or by federal and state agencies, such as HUD, as well as real estate lost to tax foreclosure and donated properties.

Each city in Cuyahoga County is a major partner regarding decisions about the future of Land Bank-owned properties within its borders. For example, the Land Bank’s partnership with the City of Cleveland, which has its own land bank, includes handing over title to all vacant land after completing demolition. The goal of the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s partnerships with local municipalities is to promote collaboration, spread risk and to make joint code enforcement and nuisance abatement operations possible.

Board of Directors
The Board of Directors of the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation is required to consist of the County Treasurer, the County Executive or their designee, a member of the County Council, two representatives of the City of Cleveland, and the remaining members selected by the County Executive, County Treasurer, and the County Council representative. Current board membership consists of: 

Anthony Brancatelli (Chair), Council Member, City of Cleveland
Brad Sellers (Vice Chair), Mayor, Warrensville Heights
Dan Brady, Council President, Cuyahoga County
Armond Budish, County Executive, Cuyahoga County
W. Christopher Murray II, Treasurer, Cuyahoga County
Thomas J. Fitzpatrick IV, Esq., Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
Kevin M. Kennedy, Mayor, North Olmsted
Bobbi Reichtell, Executive Director, Campus District
Ed Rybka, Chief of Regional Development, City of Cleveland

Land Bank Staff

Land Bank Staff

Executive Leadership

Gus Frangos, President and General Counsel (bio)
gfrangos [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8616

William Whitney, Chief Operating Officer (bio)
bwhitney [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8636

Robert Rink, Vice President - Legal Affairs (bio)
Public Records Manager
rrink [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8754

Jacqui Knettel, Executive Assistant
jknettel [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8772

Douglas Sawyer, Special Projects and Policy Counsel
dsawyer [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-3543

Lilah Zautner, Manager of Special Projects and Land Reuse
lzautner [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-4696

Programs and Property Management

Dennis L. Roberts, Director of Programs and Property Management (bio)
droberts [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8653 

Ian Ahern, Housing Manager
iahern [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-6626

Bernard Moore, Housing Specialist
bmoore [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8926 

Kristin Holzschuh, Programs Assistant
kholzschuh [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8843

KC Petraitis, Real Estate Officer
kcpetraitis [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-2311

Acquisitions, Dispositions and Development

Cheryl Stephens, Director of Acquisitions, Dispositions and Development (bio)
cstephens [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8658

James Maher, Field Service Supervisor
jmaher [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8791

Kimberly Steigerwald, Acquisitions Manager
ksteigerwald [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8802

Rosemary Woodruff, Property Specialist
rwoodruff [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-3013

Jennifer O'Konski, Acquisitions Assistant
jokonski [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-6691

Jane Larson, Dispositions Assistant
jlarson [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8729

Deidre Lightning-Whitted, Demolition Inspector
dwhitted [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-2576

Steven Billington, Property Specialist
sbillington [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-2472

Paul Williams, Demolition Inspector
pwilliams [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-4278

Rich Shaffer, Demolition Inspector
rshaffer [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-2195

IT and Research

Michael Schramm, Director of IT and Research (bio)
schramm [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8777

Anurag Saxena, Compliance and Information Specialist
asaxena [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-6607

James McGuire, GIS and Research Technician
jmcguire [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-2816

Charlie Kamen, Information Specialist
ckamen [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-4608


Michael DiMartino, Director of Finance (bio)
mdimartino [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-7004

Gina Finney Johnson, Accounts Payable Manager
gjohnson [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8778

Joseph Barr, Staff Accountant
jbarr [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8865

Administration and Compliance

Vatreisha Nyemba, Compliance and Monitoring Manager
vnyemba [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-2820

Michelle Gomez, Office Assistant
mgomez [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-2204

Summer Smith, General Office Assistant
ssmith [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-2815

Jason Knauer, Land Reuse Program Assistant
jknauer [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org
(216) 698-8336

Biographies of Senior Staff
Gus Frangos, President and General Counsel
Gus Frangos
Gus Frangos was the primary drafter of Ohio’s House Bill 294 and S.B. 353 establishing enhanced-capacity County Land Banks, and expedited administrative tax foreclosure policy. Mr. Frangos graduated with honors from Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 1982 whereupon he served as an associate attorney at the law firm of Ulmer & Berne from 1982 to 1986 concentrating in business law and litigation.
From 1986 to 1993, Mr. Frangos served as the 13th Ward Cleveland City Councilman where he sponsored and passed an array of community development legislation.
In 1993, Mr. Frangos was appointed as a Magistrate Judge in the Cleveland Municipal Court where he served with distinction. While at the Court, he established and administered the Small Claims Court’s current Small Claims Mediation Program.
In September 2004, Mr. Frangos was retained by the Cuyahoga County Treasurer to craft legislation to help expedite the tax foreclosure process, specifically on vacant and abandoned properties. These efforts resulted in the passage of H.B. 293, H.B. 294. He was also the primary drafter of the recently passed S.B. 353 which established the first of its kind “Land Reutilization Corporation.” H.B. 293 provides real estate tax assistance to seniors through a link deposit program; H.B. 294 authorized expedited administrative tax foreclosures of abandoned land through the County Boards of Revision; and S.B. 353 enables the establishment of County Land Reutilization Corporations with enhanced capabilities for the reclamation of distressed properties.
Mr. Frangos is the President and General Counsel of the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation, and his areas of legal concentration include land-related issues, Constitutional, commercial real estate, zoning, administrative and business transactional law.
William Whitney, Chief Operating Officer

William Whitney

William Whitney, has worked in the community development field in Ohio for 35 years. He possesses extensive institutional knowledge and expertise in housing acquisitions, dispositions, federal regulatory practices and business management. Past positions include the State’s Assistant Deputy Director for Community Development, and the Director of a nationally known Community Development Corporation, the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization. Before joining the CCLRC he served as the Cleveland Director of Enterprise Community Partners. Mr. Whitney has a Master’s of Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin.
Robert Rink, Vice President - Legal Affairs

Robert Rink

Robert Rink is an attorney and the co-author of the Ohio legislation authorizing the creation and operation of county land banks. He is a retired partner with the law firm of Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP, who practiced in the areas of public law and public finance during his 20 year tenure with Calfee Halter. Over that time he served as legal counsel for cities, counties and the State of Ohio in connection with their issuance of general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, economic development bonds and federally guaranteed student loan bonds, as well as special counsel in connection with the levy of special assessments and the enactment of income tax ordinances and investment policy ordinances. He also authored state legislation authorizing county treasurers to negotiate the sale of delinquent real property tax liens. Prior to his admission to the Ohio bar in 1986, he served as the Chief Deputy County Auditor for the Cuyahoga County Auditor and as the Finance Director for the City of Cleveland Heights. He received a B.A. in Classical Languages from the University of Detroit in 1970, his J.D. from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1985 and the Appreciative Inquiry Certificate in Positive Business and Society Change from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in 2005.
Dennis Roberts, Director of Programs and Property Management

Dennis Roberts

Dennis Roberts is an attorney with transactional, governmental and programmatic legal experience. In his previous position, Mr. Roberts was responsible for directing Cuyahoga County’s Federal Workforce Investment Program and successfully facilitated the unprecedented merger of the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County’s Workforce Investment Boards. Prior to his work in the workforce area, Mr. Roberts served as a litigator at Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP. Mr. Roberts also worked in the Criminal Division of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office for three and one half years as well as worked in the private practice of law. Mr. Roberts received his Juris Doctorate from Cleveland Marshall College of Law, cum laude, in 1998 and is a graduate of William Paterson College.
Cheryl Stephens, Director of Acquisitions, Dispositions and Development

Cheryl Stephens

Cheryl Stephens is the Director of Acquisition, Disposition and Development. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree and later a Master’s degree in Public Administration from The University of Dayton, Cheryl began her career in public administration and fell in love with development. She has held manager and director positions with the City of Cleveland’s Department of Economic Development, the City of Cleveland Heights Department of Planning and Development, the Cuyahoga County Department of Development, the National Development Council, and Leadership Cleveland as well as service as a member of the Cuyahoga County Board of Revision. She is often called on by members of the Ohio business community to provide research and strategic development services. Cheryl has been a key player in ushering more than $100,000,000 of investment to growing businesses and real estate developments in Ohio.
Cheryl has served on volunteer committees, boards, and commissions over the years and in 2009 Cheryl was elected to the City of Cleveland Heights’ City Council. She currently serves as one of seven members of Cleveland Heights City Council and is Chair of the Finance Committee.
Michael Schramm, Director of IT and Research

Michael Schramm

Michael Schramm, is the Director of Information Technology and Research at the Cuyahoga Land Bank as well as a Research Associate at the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development in the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. At the County Lank Bank, Michael is currently developing information tools to help the corporation use data to make strategic acquisition decisions as well as track property status from acquisition to demolition to disposition. Recognized as a national expert in property data systems, Michael is also extensively involved in the development and maintenance the neighborhood information system, NEO CANDO (Northeast Ohio Community and Neighborhood Data for Organizing). Michael's expertise on foreclosure, subprime mortgages, and other real property data has been extensively utilized by the Neighborhood Stabilization Team sponsored by Neighborhood Progress, Inc, the Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Prevention Program as well as the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. He is also active in the local foreclosure and vacant property dialogue through VAPAC (Vacant and Abandoned Property Action Council) and has presented at numerous national meeting and conferences on these topics. Michael has B.S. degrees in Geography and Meteorology from Penn State University and a M.A. in Geography from Syracuse University.
Michael DiMartino, Director of Finance

Michael DiMartino

Michael DiMartino, Director of Finance and Treasurer of the Corporation has been with CCLRC since August, 2010. Mr. DiMartino has attained his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designations, as well as his Masters in Business Administration degree from Cleveland State University. His undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from St. John’s University in New York City. Mr. DiMartino had been in the for profit accounting/finance business arena for over 30 years, serving in such functions as Corporate Controller, Division Controller, IT Manager and Tax Manager. He has worked for such companies in the past as Ernst & Ernst (Ernst & Young), Demag Cranes Corporation, and Cleveland Range Company. Mr. DiMartino has had a small accounting, tax, and financial planning practice for over 30 years. He and his wife live in Solon, Ohio. media outlet shut down investigation of Frangos

NEO Media Group - Plain Dealer - reporter Leila Atassi contacted REALNEO in September 2015 - she was given the green light to investigate Gus Frangos based on a REALNEO post dated May 2013.  I put her in touch with Lily Miller, who deserves the credit for shutting down third party tax lien sales and for the research concerning the Land Bank, Rokakis and Frangos.  The basis of the investigation is summarized in the email to Leila Atassi from Lily Miller sent - Friday, September 04, 2015 10:45 AM.  Subsequently, Leila Atassi interviewed Gus Frangos for an accounting of how this transaction occurred.  Her editors determined that while the incident could be interpreted as mortgage fraud - they would not pursue the story, because "they didn't want to destroy the guy."  Here is the bulk of the email from Lily outlining the case:


The real estate transaction can be found at this county public website   and use parcel number 105-16-002  for your search
going back to the year 2010.   It will be the first document found in the search, the one that has 'DEAF' listed as type of document.
The Affidavit of Fact relative to all of the slum property was filed in 2013 - after I wrote the blog.  According to the affidavit, Pastor Ladon Ruffin was the sole
owner of Quinn Court Properties since 2009, but they waited until 2013 to file the deed.  During 2009 thru 2013,  Attorney and land bank president Gus Frangos
was legally recorded as a member of Quinn Court Properties and he also agreed to be financially responsible for the mortgage.
Pastor Ladon Ruffin appeared in juvenile court and gave sworn testimony that he never owned the property and that Gus Frangos was the owner.  Ruffin testified that
Frangos hired him to collect and hand over rent money.  This is public record at juvenile court and can be found on the 2nd floor- Clerk of Courts- Juvenile Court on Quincy- using
Ladon Ruffin as the name search.
The mortgage fraud documents relative to Gus Frangos can be located using this case number:
Case Designation:
You should ask Gus Frangos what happened to the community development money he received for the slum property featured in the blog, owned by Quinn Court Properties, with Gus Frangos
signing for the mortgage.
RAVENNA, OH 44266-0000
CLEVELAND, OH 44122-0000
Ph: 216-360-7200
Answer Filed: N/A
HUDSON, OH 44236-0000
/ PRO SE (9999999)
HUDSON, OH 44236-0000
EDWARD F. HERMAN (0086598)
LAKEWOOD, OH 44107-0000
Ph: 216-410-6261
Answer Filed: N/A
CLEVELAND, OH 44114-0000
If you have any questions, just let me know.   

Pimping Poverty - job creation for $100,000 + parasites

  The NEO Media Group won't blow the whistle on Rokakis-Frangos, because unlike the job creation made by Russo-Dimora - low level county cogs making > $30,000 - Rokakis-Frangos' unique talent has been to feed the poverty and housing industry fuelled with BIG federal $$$.  So many fake philanthropic agencies in Northeast Ohio.  Is it any wonder, we are deemed the most distressed city in America?  Centers for Families "CEO" makes $300,000+ and fake green outfit that hired Rokakis and Westbrook, "CEO" makes $300,000+ .  Use - check for yourself.   The truth is out there :)


Wake up People!