Hocus Pocus - Cover up of Cuyahoga County Corruption

Submitted by lmcshane on Sat, 07/08/2017 - 09:09.


Armond Budish continues to operate with the same level of underhanded incompetence pioneered by his predecessors in Cuyahoga County government.   There is no attempt by the media - in this most recent case, Peter Krouse of Cleveland.com - to ask even the most obvious questions about these transactions.  


REALNEO has long documented the history of criminal incompetence under the former County Treasurer Jim Rokakis and his Deputy Treasurer Gus Frangos.  Both individuals should be named by Mark Griffin - the Inspector General, who released this report:




From: Laura McShane 

Date: July 6, 2017 at 3:18:12 AM EDT

To: Mark Griffin <mdgriffin [at] cuyahogacounty [dot] us>, pkrouse [at] cleveland [dot] com <pkrouse [at] cleveland [dot] com>

Cc: George Rodrigue <grodrigue [at] plaind [dot] com>, Chris Quinn <cquinn [at] cleveland [dot] com>, Leila Atassi <latassi [at] cleveland [dot] com>, Mary Louise Madigan <mlmadigan [at] cuyahogacounty [dot] us>

Subject: Cuyahoga County Corruption

Honestly - the Plain Dealer publishes this scathing report and no heads roll at Cuyahoga County Department of Development?  See attached photo - the County is named as a defendant in this case CV-11-766514. The loan appears to be unpaid. Leila Attasi began investigation in 2015 - and was shut down on the story by editors.  This is insane.

Corruption ties to delinquent loans rattle Cuyahoga County inspector general

Cuyahoga County Inspector General Mark Griffin said the association of scandal-ridden individuals with county lo...

LAtassi [at] cleveland [dot] com" title-off="" style="-webkit-padding-start: 0px;">Leila Atassi 
Laura McShane
09/13/15 at 2:48 PM
I'm definitely planning a story on Frangos. It's in the works and coming in for a landing soon



( categories: )

Lilly Miller tracked fraudulent Cuy Cty transactions

It is well-documented that Jim Rokakis and Gus Frangos, while in office as treasurer and deputy treasurer, engaged in real estate transactions that deserve the scrutiny of the media and federal investigators.  Under their watch, the Department of Development handed out "Free Money" - and their joint control of the Board of Revision and Treasurer's office allowed them to "forgive" debt.  Both continue to abuse this wite-out power as Gus Frangos heads up the quasi-governmental "Land Bank."











NOTE: Ken Surratt of Cuyahoga County Department of Development


 also sits on board of the Cuyahoga County Land Bank

- he appears in the credits at the City Club address 6/30.2017




Cuyahoga County is named as a defendant in this case CV-11-766514. The loan appears to be unpaid. Leila Attasi began investigation in 2015 - and was shut down on the story by Advance media editors.




 How is it that ANYONE who serves in local government


 (Rokakis/Frangos 1997-2012)- are allowed

to simultaneously conduct real estate transactions, when their government positions give them inside information on properties?

 Gabriel Baird was the only Plain Dealer reporter on to this conflict of interest.  Of course, he no longer works as a journalist in Northeast Ohio:





Cleveland housing inspector gets land city had paid to clear in

'massive screw-up'

A city development official formally notified the county treasurer of the city's interest in acquiring the land for redevelopment in December 2006, court records show.

But instead of placing the property in the city's land bank, records show, the county prosecutor's office put up the parcel for a sheriff's sale in February 2008. The county treasurer attempted to notify the city of the sale, but sent the notice to the wrong address.

Records show the notice went to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.

The sheriff's sale attracted no bidders, so the land was turned over to the state for another public auction in August 2008, when Barnes placed the winning bid of $1,500. As part of the deal, the county waived $207,000 in back taxes and other assessments.

Robin Thomas, chief deputy to Treasurer Jim Rokakis, referred questions about the handling of the case to the prosecutor's office, which did not respond to a request for comment.



Land Bank> Cleveland Bricks> Tremont

The recently deceased and posthumously canonized Cleveland Housing "saints" Sammy Catania and former Housing Court Judge Ray Pianka- continue to operate from beyond the grave--making money for the Cleveland Bricks crooks who benefitted from their special relationship with the "Land Bank," the judge and the CDC real estate director:

Learn more about Cleveland Bricks and Gus Frangos:



I researched 2011 and 2012 deed transfers from the County's Land Bank.

The county's land bank is basically obtaining ownership of property and not transferring many properties.

Several deeds were transferred to community development corporations.

The top deed transfers went to:

1.    Cleveland Bricks LLC

2.    TC3 Properties

3.   Cleveland Green Homes

4.    Cleveland NSP Homes ( Neighborhood Stabilization Program)

5.    Jason Hager


Jason Hager is connected to Cleveland Bricks LLC


Michelle Jarboe puts out spin piece on CCLB



No where in this article is a mention of the current and previous Cuyahoga County Land Bank (CCLB) board. South Euclid Mayor Georgine Welo chaired the board, now headed by Cleveland Councilman Anthony Brancatelli. Ken Surratt at the Cuyahoga County Development office recently dropped off the CCLB board (after the Noble Rd. Dump story broke). Here is the current board:

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

The premise of this article should be that the intent of the Cuyahoga County Land Bank - to restore property values in Cuyahoga County - HAS failed under the so-called leadership of the Cuyahoga County Land Bank.

The Cuyahoga County Land Bank was intended to be a lean operation with only 10 staff persons. It now has over 26 people on their bloated staff. Jim Rokakis, former county treasurer, fought to get his former deputy treasurer, Gus Frangos, installed in as the director of the CCLB. Rokakis also fought to get PERS, public employee, benefits for Gus Frangos. The Cuyahoga County Land Bank has no oversight, by design.

In 2016, I filed a complaint with Mark Griffin, the Inspector General for Cuyahoga County, to investigate the CCLB operation for their careless vetting of demolition contractors. I noted to him that one of the contractors performing work for the CCLB -Ginmark LLC- was also delinquent on properties owned on West 25th St/ Pearl. He was careful to not respond by email and by phone told me that since the CCLB is a "quasi-governmental" agency - it is not under the oversight of the Cuyahoga County Inspector General.

At this point, the Plain Dealer and Clevelanddotcom have to stop giving a pass to the two most egregious crooks in Northeast Ohio. The Land Bank is a fraud. The sooner it is shut down, the better.



The current staffing is now :

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, Board Secretary (bio)

rrink [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-8754

Jacqui Knettel, Executive Assistant

jknettel [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-8772

Douglas Sawyer, Assistant General 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

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

Carson Bock, Programs Liaison

cbock [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-4107

Ron Byrd, Housing Specialist

rbyrd [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-8926


Acquisitions, Dispositions and Development

James Maher, Commercial Demolition Officer

jmaher [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-8791

Kimberly Steigerwald, Acquisitions Manager

ksteigerwald [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-8802

Rosemary Woodruff, Senior Enviromental 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, Financial Analyst

jlarson [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-8729

Deidre Lightning-Whitted, Senior Demolition Inspector

dwhitted [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-2576

Steven Billington, Property Specialist (Programs and Funding)

sbillington [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-2472

Paul Williams, Demolition Inspector

pwilliams [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-4278

Rich Shaffer, Environmental Properties Specialist

rshaffer [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-2195

Angela Dupay, Contract Support Specialist

adupay [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-2182


IT and Research

Michael Schramm, Director of IT and Research (bio)

schramm [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-8777

Anurag Saxena, Information Technology and Research Manager

asaxena [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-6607

James McGuire, GIS and Research Technician

jmcguire [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-2816

Jessie Masters, Information and Planning Specialist

jmasters [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-4608



Ronald Pavlovich, Director of Finance (bio)

pavlovich [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-5801

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

Celeste Lawson, Programs Financial Analyst

clawson [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-3022


Administration and Compliance

Vatreisha Nyemba, Compliance and Program Development 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

Sarah Norman, Document Support Staff

snorman [at] cuyahogalandbank [dot] org

(216) 698-2445