Cuyahoga County Corruption - $50M demolition slush fund

Submitted by lmcshane on Mon, 02/13/2017 - 08:49.



"How much is a healthier housing market worth? "

Michelle, why this propaganda piece now? How about putting the reports that Cuyahoga County Land Bank must submit to Cuyahoga County administration on line for everyone to see?

ToLaura McShane Jan 24 at 9:37 AM
Thanks Ms. McShane. Development will work on this request.

Mary Louise


Mary Louise Madigan | Director of Communications

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish

Cuyahoga County |2079 East 9th Street, 8th Floor Cleveland, OH 44115

P: 216.698.2521 C: 216.210.4712| mlmadigan [at] cuyahogacounty [dot] us

Subject: FOIA request for all reports pertaining to demolitions funded by $50M County demolition fee - and any additional reports requested by members of County Council since the Land Bank's inception:

Dear Director Carter,

I am requesting full electronic copies of these bi-annual reports for all years of operation while the Cuyahoga County Land Bank has been in existence 2010 -present. I will be sending this request through certified mail - as well.

The Cuyahoga County's Department of Development was briefed on the status of demolitions in May 2016 -

"The Land Bank shall bi-annually prepare and issue a report to Council and the Director of Development, which shall include a list of all demolitions of structures owned by the Land Bank which are funded, in whole or in part, by the property demolition fund. The Land Bank shall further provide any information as may be requested by members of Council or the Director of Development. "

Michelle Jarboe, The Plain Dealer 6 hours ago
@LauraMcShaneCLE -

Thanks for commenting. This isn't propaganda. I attended a public meeting this week where there was a detailed briefing on the status of the demolition program and housing market trends in the county. 

Data from that meeting and follow-up interviews went into the interactive map posted with this story. You can scroll over the map to see completed demolitions and the ownership/classification of the property prior to demolition. Materials from that meeting are posted online here:

Are you saying you're interested only in the land bank parcels and not in how and where the demolition money is being spent by municipalities?


LauraMcShaneCLE 4 hours ago
@Michelle Jarboe, The Plain Dealer @LauraMcShaneCLE I am saying - it's very odd that I sent a FOIA request and instead of actually putting the land bank reports online Mr. Surratt (who has still not replied to my request) had this public meeting and put out a very brief and not very informative report that apparently satisfies their public spin on transparency. There are several pots of money being used to demo properties - in East Cleveland, I am very sure that the Cuyahoga County Land Bank will not try to use their TARP monies - and will instead employ the $50 M slush fund set up as a complex repayment. That way East Cleveland is doing the demolitions and the money trail is intentionally comingled the same way the trash at Arco-Noble Rd. site is so conveniently comingled.

Michelle Jarboe, The Plain Dealer 3 hours ago
@LauraMcShaneCLE -

Thanks for commenting. Ken Surratt told me that he wants to put all of the demolition program information online and provide a database for the public. It sounds as though that's something the county is working on.

Yes, there are multiple pots of money that are being used to demolish properties - the county reimbursement funds, available for use by the land bank and by municipalities demolishing properties including privately owned homes that have been condemned, and the federal Hardest Hit Funds, which generally flow to land banks that already control the houses they're demolishing.

Much of the money is limited to one-to-three family homes, though the county funds can be used for commercial demolitions, up to a $100,000-per-property cap. The city of Cleveland also uses community development block grant funding for demolition.

I can assure you that the county's $50 million demolition fund is not the only money used to raze blighted structures in East Cleveland.

To be clear, a Cuyahoga County Council committee convened the public meeting I attended, where there was a report on the demolition program, a report on tax-lien sales and a report on the housing market.


LauraMcShaneCLE 52 minutes ago
@Michelle Jarboe, The Plain Dealer - thank you for not deleting my comments and also for sharing information that should not be so difficult for residents to understand. Former EC Mayor Gary Norton is rumored to now be working at the Cleveland Clinic. In addition to the properties demo'd by the Land Bank - there are City of East Cleveland demo'd properties through the County $50M demo fund - and, those contractors are selected by the Mayor of East Cleveland. Who are those contractors? How much did they charge East Cleveland? And, where did the demo debris end up? Arco? Was Michael Riley also demo'ing properties w/his company Red Rock LLC and dumping at the Arco-Noble Rd dump site? Eric J Brewer shared this on FB: "Pay attention folk. The rats are turning on each other. Cleveland Heights Mayor Cheryl Stephens says here she's concerned about the illegal dump in East Cleveland and blames recalled and disgraced ex-Mayor Gary Norton. I've heard he's now working for Cleveland Clinic.

But Stephens works for the county landbank led by ex-Cleveland councilman and ex-county treasurer James Rokakis who's employees awarded demolition contracts to companies dumping hundreds of toxin-contaminated homes in an illegal dump behind residential homes in East Cleveland. The Ohio EPA's inspections reveal the illegal dump operator wasn't recording the identities of the landbank's contractors. I've been informed that landbank officials are telling demolition contractors to illegally dump on vacant landbank properties all over Cleveland.

Here's the scheme that's been shared with me. Arco was charging $7 a cubic yard to dump. It cost $12 and more at legitimate construction and demolition debris landfills. Investigating authorities, curious citizens and reporters should learn if Rokakis, Gus Frangos, Stephens and other landbank officials were awarding bids with the $12 dump fee and sending demolition contractors to Arco to save the $5; and then splitting the $5 between themselves.

There's close to 2 million cubic yards of waste. At $5 multiplied by 2 million that's $10 million. I'm aware that Rokakis and Frangos lobbied to get demoltion costs per house increased from $10,000 to $12,000. I paid an average of $6000 to $7500 on East Cleveland demolition contracts.

I don't blame Cleveland Heights officials for their concern. But the person they'd better begin investigating is their own mayor"

( categories: )

Wake up people - we don't have a healthier housing market!

And, Mayor Jackson's handlers are spinning out of control - now removing all Scene Magazine boxes from downtown in an attempt to stifle Freedom of the Press.

Eric Brewer Live on the Toxic Dump in EC 2/14/2017


Barbara Garner died of lung cancer in 2016. The highly-toxic Noble Road dump plaguing more than 100,000 residents in East Cleveland, Cleveland and three surrounding cities was directly in her back yard. Barbara's son, Frank Garner, has x-ray evidence that prior to the dump's presence his mother's lungs were cancer-free.

Since getting involved in the war to close, keep closed and clean the Noble Road toxic death site, I've been surprised at who's come forward with information about illness-stricken relatives over the past two years. Former CMHA Chairman Robert C Townsend II called to say a cousin on Ivanhoe became mysteriously ill. Halicia Yarbrough has shared her mother's experiences with a sudden cancer. Annamaria Cora has shared her mother's experiences with cancer. All live within blocks and not miles of the deadly dump.

We're meeting Tuesday, February 14th at 10 a.m. The location is the Empowerment Church at 15837 Euclid Avenue. Rev. Anthony L Mattox Jr is the pastor. The discussion will focus on the health effects of the dump, remediation and more. Jim Riffle conducted the tests and will answer your questions. Come out and share your stories. It's important that we put faces on the tragedy.

Look. Let's be real. This is the trash business. In the past it was run by the mob. There are still “mob-like” folk in it but this mob ain't like the old mob. They still, however, have mob ways and I have strong suspicions that government officials who let the dump exist and thrive were bribed. They could care less about Barbara's health or anyone else's.

There's over 2 million yards of debris at the illegal and toxic dump. Jim Rokakis and the Cuyahoga County landbank he and Gus Frangos leads are paying $10,000 to $12,000 a house and more to demolition contractors to knock down instead of renovating homes. The debris has to go somewhere and these assholes don't give a shit where it goes as long as they get paid. There's more than $20 million that's reportedly been collected by the illegal dump site's owners. Investigators are investigating whether some of that money has reached political hands.

Gary Norton's alleged girlfriend told me he paid her $700 a week cash on a $40,000 a year salary. He also worked with Thomas Wheeler and Brandon King to rig the processes of the city's government to benefit George Michael Riley's business interests. Norton signed a release of the landbank property to Arco's owners without council approval. Their underhanded dealings are suspicious and have caught the "right" attention.

Rokakis and Frangos are the same two assholes who pushed 3rd party tax lien sales that helped create the glut of 4000 abandoned homes on the east side they're now making money off tearing down. Rokakis, Frangos and the late Judge Raymond Pianka fucked a lot of Cleveland homeowners out of their homes with their policies. In my opinion Rokakis and Frangos are greedy political con artists who are profiting off the neighborhood blight they helped create.

You can thank Armond Budish, Ed Fitzgerald and the Cuyahoga County Council for giving them access to $50 million in public funds to tear down homes that in many cases could have been renovated. I've got pipelines directly inside that county operation and I trust my sources. They're tearing down homes people can live in.

If you don't do anything else call or email your county council member and tell them to investigate and hold public hearings about Rokakis and Frangos county landbank and 3rd party tax lien sales. They need to investigate if public funds are supporting illegal and deadly dumping. Both the county landbank and 3rd party tax lien sales need to be shut down because they're funding criminal, death-dealing and neighborhood-killing enterprises with public funds. These illegal, environment-contaminating and life threatening county landbank supported dumps are all over the fucking city.

There's been a significant increase in dumping at the "legal" construction and demolition debris landfills since the illegal Noble Road dump's closing. It's evidence that Arco was under-reporting its waste collections. Among the 27 inspection reports are inspector claims that Arco officials and employees were not keeping a record of every truck dumping on the property and the source of the debris.

I smell bribes and corruption, and this is “usual” for the Ohio EPA and Cuyahoga County government and its contractors. I know of an Ohio EPA inspector who showed a landfill operator the list of calls made by one of his employees who was reporting him.

I don't trust Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler. I've already investigated lies previous Ohio EPA Director Don Shregardus told to former U.S. Rep. Doug Applebate during the 1990's about a dump owned by Steve Vukovich. Butler is already on record as lying to U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge about asbestos not being at the dump now owned by Christine Beynon.

So, folk, this affects “our” lives and we've got no friends but each other. No help from the government. No help from the media. No help from our "politicians." We've got to do this ourselves and we've got to put faces to the death that's occurring in our communities.

Come on out tomorrow and share your story. I will Facebook live stream it when we start.