Open Government

Submitted by lmcshane on Fri, 05/03/2019 - 09:06.


 (Convo....right Frank)

Sam Allard penned the Worst of Cleveland editorial on Cleveland City Council:

Outsiders are kept at bay by the strategic appointment of successors, and the public is kept at bay by "emergency" legislating, in which ordinances are passed on an accelerated schedule with no public comment and limited review.

I commend him for recognizing what many residents have already known for years.  But, he needs to expand his reporting to the amount of money each council person controls and then provide a full accounting of that mother lode controlled by Kelley.  Kelley is a stand out, because he controls the Council Leadership Fund PAC, set up by Forest City during the Mike White era.




Plain Dealer, The (Cleveland, OH) - Friday, September 17, 1993
Big 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. 

The fund is controlled by Council President Jay Westbrook. Mayor Michael R. White and businessman Sam Miller have pledged to help Westbrook raise $300,000


Because of this fund - all council persons line up and vote in unity with the president of Cleveland City Council.  That council person also gets a tax paid bodyguard/chauffeur and a special assistant who works closely with the Clerk of City Council - Pat Britt.


Steven Rys

Special Assistant to Council

(216) 664-3877

srys [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org


Council also has legal counsel:

Legal Counsel

Jennifer Heinert O'Leary**

Special Counsel

(216) 664-6436

jheinertoleary [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org
Rachel Nigro Scalish

Special Counsel

(216) 664-6437

rscalish [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org

**YES - this is Housing Court Judge Ron O'Leary's wife.  Cleveland Housing Court was created by Jim Rokakis as his former website for treasurer attests:

Jim worked tirelessly to improve the region and is known for his leadership that helped redevelop Cleveland’s downtown.  He was instrumental in key projects like the Gateway Sports Complex (home to the Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Cavaliers) and crafted the compromise that allowed construction of the internationally known Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.  Jim created the City’s Gun Buy-Back Program, wrote the Chop-Shop Law that reduced car thefts, and authored the In-Door Clean Air Act.  He was also responsible for the creation of Cleveland’s Housing Court.  Jim’s commitment was widely recognized by his peers and he was appointed Chairman of the City’s influential Finance Committee for his last seven years on Council.


( categories: )

Vote to REDUCE CLE City Council

Originally published at REALNEO in January 2020 - updated to include new url, which will probably change again...

My comments:

Jasmin Santana, Cleveland City Councilwoman Ward 14 knows that WRLC's Jim Rokakis is the shadow land broker on W 25/Pearl. Everyone has to kiss his ring including Tony George.  Sam Allard knows that "saintly" Brian Cummins was involved in attempts to have Villa Hispana closer to intersection Clark Scranton for BS historic tax credit angle. George family played their game on 3025 W 25 involving land bank and now FHA50 monies and Opportunity Zone monies. Weber project (family special c/o the don) is part of the shady deal making. Metro West aka Detroit Shoreway sucks CDBG funds from every east side ward that is actually entitled to the federal HUD monies.
The machine is the mafia of CDCs controlled by these council clowns. Reduction will help break the real estate schemes and council members will have to work on behalf of all parts of the city - it WORKS in Columbus which received federal smart transportation award. I am voting to reduce Cleveland's council and adopt structure that works in Columbus and Cincinnati. Please spend more time analyzing Jim Rokakis and the land bank and their manipulation of CLE council, instead of your current fixation on Tony George. You might also look at the mother of all CDCs, Neighborhood Progress Inc's shady deal to sell off CPL lakeshore property.
Laura McShane, Ward 14


Sam - you should also mention that you live in Ward 15 - living under the largesse that decades of federal HUD monies misspent by the CDC Detroit Shoreway invested in your neighborhood with monies intended to go for the economic support of struggling areas in the city and to provide affordable housing. You also know very well that Mariah Crenshaw - Cleveland resident, African-American activist and organizer - is a primary promoter of this initiative and , yet, you don't mention her at all. Why, Sam? Look at your inherent bias. Pravda, comrade.


Also Sent to Sam Allard:

The article profiled the TPL Ohio Director, who happens to be female and African-American.  She also previously worked for Cuyahoga County government and received a deal on her house in Glenville from the non-profit Famicos.  This background builds a loyalty to the dark government NGO operators I have worked to expose time-and-time again at REALNEO. I am talking about the Cuyahoga County Land Bank, LANDstudio, CHN-Eden and the multitude of fake philanthropic outfits that feed off of local, state and federal monies.

The usual go-to for this type of study would have been Richie Piiparinen, but now he works for the fake blockchain, Project Unify.  So, with this TPL article expect to see Cleveland City Council approve funds to support either LANDstudio, WRLC with TPL to "study" how the Land Bank parcels (Cleveland and County) can be utilized for mini-parklets or some other such nonsense.  This is how Rokakis mines funds at Cleveland City Hall through his buddy network there and at Cuyahoga County Council.  I have made Councilwoman Jasmin Santana very aware of these games.  I am asking the media to track the allocations awarded to any bogus "reimagining" project.  I am also writing to express my disgust with Neighborhood Progress Inc - which has already brokered a transfer of the Memorial Nottingham library properties to a developer.  This type of transaction is disgusting and typical and betrays the public trust.


See also:


Cimperman, the altar boy, is no longer the standard bearer for criminal conduct in office (Sweeney was actually much worse - and somehow escaped prosecution during Dimora/Russo purge).

Mark Naymik and Sam Allard keep pointing fingers at Ken Johnson, but they conveniently ignore Kelley and Brancatelli ... the worst of the worst.  Why?

It is well-known that Kevin Kelley controls the purse strings at Cleveland City Council.  I am asking Sam Allard to investigate and publish the monies spent by each council person for 2019-2020. Each council person controls somewhere in the range of 2.5 million dollars/ward.   I have that amount in my mind from when Brian Cummins broke that cardinal rule of council upon his first election - he published his total ward allocations.  That amount is probably much higher now that casino funds are part of that equation and 75K for senior services and 75K for capital improvements in each ward.  Blaine Griffin is telling seniors, threatened by the Cleveland Clinic "Opportunity Zone,"  that he has no idea what they are talking about when they ask - it is a reference to this article:

City Council began reviewing the mayor’s proposal, going nearly line by line through the plan, at budget hearings several weeks ago. Ultimately, the council made a handful of additions to the mayor’s plan. They included:

  • $75,000 for each of the city’s 17 wards (a total of $1.275 million) to pay for emergency home repairs for senior citizens.
  • $75,000 per ward for small capital-improvement projects such as minor park improvements or street projects done at the discretion of members of council.
  • About $400,000 to bolster the budget for summer grass cutting on abandoned property. The total should allow for an additional cutting (a fourth) citywide.

The budget includes about $11.5 million for street paving work. Additional money is expected to be included for side streets in the city’s capital improvement budget, lifting the total street budget to more than $14 million.

Back to Kelley - his close relationship to Tony Brancatelli bears journalistic scrutiny.  Kelley's Old Brooklyn ward 13 is adjacent to Brancatelli's grotesquely gerrymandered eastside Slavic Village/westside Old Brooklyn  Ward 12.  They are frequently partnered on committee decisions. 


AN EMERGENCY ORDINANCE Authorizing the Director of Community
Development to apply for and accept a grant from the Cleveland
Foundation and other grants from any public and private entity to conduct a
research study on the City’s real property tax policies and tax abatement
programs and to assess the results; and authorizing the director to enter
into one or more contracts for professional consultants to implement this
Sponsors: Anthony Brancatelli, Kevin Kelley and By Departmental Reques


Kelley's special assistant Steven Rys - acquired two properties in Slavic Village from Slavic Village Development Corporation -

Folks will recall that prior to his appointment to Cleveland City Council by now Chief of Regional Development Ed Rybka, "Tony B" or "Brancula" as he is known in the 'hood - ran Slavic Village Development Corporation.  He still contributes to block clubs and notably to Canalway Partners Tim Donovan, who sits on Board of Zoning Appeals, through his COUNCIL EXPENSE ACCOUNT using his tonyb [at] slavicvillage [dot] org email account.

Tony's dad and Ed's dad were both realtors - so there is a long history of project development and flipping that started and eventually resulted in what has been called the epicenter of the subprime mortgage crisis-Slavic Village. 


The Slavic Village origin story (branding) goes back to Dennis Kucinich - and his council relationship w/Rokakis and Frangos.  Kucinich, after serving as mayor, served time again on Cleveland City Council in 1983, representing Slavic Village.  With assistance from Forest City, these councilmen--Rokakis, Frangos and Kucinich-- went into overdrive with the allocation of federal monies towards NGOs in the eighties - which led to community development corporations and the Cleveland Housing Network in 1981, now rebranded to CHN Housing Partners.  Neighborhood Housing Services, the lending arm of the low-income housing scheme also began around the same time 1980. 

As a chartered member of NeighborWorks® America, one of nearly 245 organizations working in nearly 4,400 urban, suburbs and rural communities nationwide, NHSGC is certified to meet a high standard of fiscal integrity and service to help residents in developing leadership, improving their neighborhoods, and securing decent housing that is affordable. Our link to this powerful and unique nationwide network of community development organizations adds great value to what we do here locally in Northeast Ohio.

The "charity ecosystem" of federal and county monies has been a windfall for so many charlatans, pretending to care about poor people -that the media will not touch them. Dimora and Russo cultivated Kucinich as their federal go-to and believed the protection racket extended to their control of Cuyahoga County.  That didn't work out, but Forest City continued to protect the real estate racket led by Rokakis-Frangos, while they controlled the county treasurer's office - and expanded that activity to the lucrative demolition contracts they hand out through the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corp aka "land bank," which they "created.  (NOTE: Frangos test drove this concept with the first city "land bank" in Tremont).

No one in the media seems especially interested in the fate of Michael Cosgrove - disgraced head of Neighborhood Housing Services and former director of Community Development (controlling federal reporting of CDBG monies).  Why? 


Because, he has a lot of secrets to reveal, Brancatelli is the dirty common denominator.  As chair of the Cuyahoga County Land Bank and head of Cleveland City Council's powerful finance committee, Tony Brancatelli controls a lot of $$$ that Kevin Kelley reins as Cleveland City Council president.  The monies also include funds distributed to the NGOs through Cuyahoga County - and "fun money" like the $30M allocation recently made to the Cuyahoga County Land Bank through Cuyahoga County to Rokakis-Frangos, by their former Cleveland City Council loyalist buddies,  Dan Brady and Dale Miller. 

There is much to unravel.  I think that the media is up to it.  If not, the story will eventually be told.  Hopefully, at the Arco indictments of Christine Beynon and George Michael Riley.


FBI - Pls ALSO note role of bank appraisers and title agencies in these flipped properties.  Broker and tax delinquent land lord Chester Cuiska of Northcoast Homes and Clark Broida Harvard Title Agency (Brancatelli's campaign treasurer).  Slavic Village Recovery Who approved the loan on 3719 E 52 St property now listed for $89,900?


Date Buyer Seller Price
1/11/2016 CALIBER HOME LOANS INC Steele, Adale & Sharon $10,000
11/23/2001 Steele, Adale & Sharon Slivka Daniel & Ann L $62,000
6/20/1984 Slivka Daniel & Ann L Pekar Thomas $25,000
3/27/1984 Pekar Thomas Beatty Marie $0
1/1/1975 Beatty Marie


 * NOTE media describes areas in Cleveland Ward 14 that are NOT Clark-Fulton - they are Stockyards neighborhood green space areas. Also, METROHEALTH is NOT in the SPA (statistical planning area) of Clark-Fulton - it is in the Brooklyn Centre SPA.

Plot Thickens - Council Reduction is still on the ballot


Martin Sweeney was brought up when Tony George collected signatures in 2008. Role of Clerk of Council is pivotal. Rokakis installed Lipovan - and that didn't work for her, so she was given Clerk role.  Why? - what did that achieve for Rokakis-Frangos-Brancatelli?

Scene needs to request city records on payments controlled by Pat Britt. She approves council's monthly expense accounts.  If you do a quick search on Brancatelli - he pushes expenses over into other months.  He "GIVES" money to his block clubs and Canalway out of the council expense accounts.  Britt has money to spend, too.  How can residents find out if SHE paid Hatha Communications for the services of Brancatelli's wife camouflaged under Katherine Bulava?


From one of the primary council reduction organizers, Mariah Crenshaw:

Good morning everyone! I awakened this morning to an article that I will not share written by Bret Larkin from the Plain Dealer Commenting on why CLE residents should nix the downsize and salary pay for council.

First of all the headline comes out the gate about the white guy in Westlake being behind it. Tony George has taken a lot of hits because of irresponsible journalism by reporters like Mansfield Frazier (who blocked me), Sam Allard of the Cleveland Scene, and Harry Boomer. This shows you how ill connected the mainstream media has become to the residents of the city of Cleveland but more so the activists.

There was a time in CLE history the media covered the activists and the work they were doing. No more! They cover only the tragedies that befall us when our children are murdered by gun violence and when given opportunity help spread the racial seed of divide.

Tony George DID NOT write that legislation! The residents of CLE wrote it and George heard about the work we were doing through a councilman. The councilman connected me with George. I spent many days and hours talking to George and residents on both sides of Cleveland,

Blacks and Whites, Democrats and Republicans, Young and Old, and some of us in between came together. There was NO divide on these and other issues. There simply was no money to pay people to gather signatures. In my opinion it is an impediment to your constitutional rights to be required to have 22k or more signatures to petition your government. It is an elite false impediment to keep the poor without a voice.

Kevin Kelly implemented another unconstitutional impediment when I and other grannys started circulating the term limit petitions for the mayor and council. Bob Higgs was the only reporter that covered that story for cleveland, com
Later on the paper came back and removed our names from the article, helping to kill the ability for people that wanted to sign or help circulate the petitions. Media again killing activism in CLE.

We residents managed to put all the exterior issues behind us and sat at a table for a couple of years researching and collecting data to write language for initiatives. Chasing Justice advertised the meetings and very few people came and then at some point because it was too hard they gave up. I didn't!

I started seeking out people that I was seeing posting on social media the same problems we have on the east side and I engaged them. We created committees that would be willing to support those changes. We worked long and we worked hard.

Ministers like Aaron Phillips and Caviness never attended one meeting. They never took time to research and write oppositional language and they certainly didn't hold any type of public forums to discuss it before the language appeared on the ballot. Phillips is an excommunicated lawyer who should have the knowledge and ability to do research and circulate petitions. He spends his time helping white people get elected to the benches. Phillips who all of a sudden is concerned about CLE being divided has a church that its next to an abandoned property (once owned by Phillips member who donated it for his bogus re-entry program and abandoned it because she found out he was not the 'man of God' she thought he was.)

Phillips and Caviness make BIG money off of selling out the Black interests to these seated elected officials in both the city and the county. Don't be fooled by these men in black! Just because they wear Black doesn't mean they are PRO-BLACK. Now Phillips, Caviness, Larkin, Allard all have come out against a white man and made him the focus of the movement. George is not and don't let them fool you!

George offered and we accepted because CLE i impoverished and simply cannot afford to pay for the cost of the petitions to be circulated. Most people don't know the cost associated with having the right to vote on change. Each petition contains 50 signature. It is about 3 pages long, and contains only ONE red line, that must be on each petition when circulated. Each petition costs about $4 each to circulate and then you add in the cost of each signature gatherers is any where between $1-$4 for each signature paid to the person circulating them.

Now let's do the math: That equates to 440 petitions x $4 = $1,760

Pay to signers is $1.50 for each signature x 22,000 = $33,000

Then you have to make copies of each for your own records which can cost another $1,760.

This comes up to $36,520 per petition. Now remember the petitions cost that for one so now we have to double that number: $73,040 for both issues to be on the ballot.

Now lets look at the recent data I released about CLE median household income is about 24K a year. CLE residents are too poor to pay for the $73,040 to have the right to vote. These politicians don't want you to have that right and the numbers don't lie.

No one is screaming about white guy Gilbert that lives in Detroit or white guy Haslam that aren't residents that produce seasonal jobs in CLE while be pay millions in tax payer dollars for their stadiums that can't be used to host Super Bowls or World series events. We paid for the cost of the clean up after the Cavs won and we pay for the clean up for tailgating.

At some point we have to look at how bad things have become and make an educated decision to push past color, religions, and any other impediment that comes between our common interests. George never paid me a dime to get those signatures! The only people that got paid were the gatherers. CLE you can remain silent on this issue but you in reality cannot afford to circulate petitions neither can you afford to remain silent on common issues.

Now as the city and the county are looking for a way to undermine your vote you have the opportunity to see just how much power your vote holds! Don't allow the corruption to continue because irresponsible journalism influences your decision. This is a voter suppression issue now whether you are for or against the initiatives. don't let them suppress your vote! It is not a rich guy or black and white guy issue it's a right to vote issue!

Krouse article - REDUCE Council now!


I have submitted a complaint to the Ohio Attorney General's office to investigate collusion between Cleveland City Council and the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. Tony Brancatelli chairs the finance committee for Cleveland City Council and chairs the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. His wife enjoyed several years of public monies through Hatha Communications contracts w/city and land bank. Pat Britt is Clerk of Council. Some one needs to check into her rubber stamping of Brancatelli's monthly expenses. This is just one example of one REALLY bad dude who spends taxpayer dollars that are allocated to him through NDA - Neighborhood Development Allocations and CDBG -Community Development Block Grant funds on this bloated Cleveland City Council. There is the whole underworld of CDCs - and NGOs like CHN and NPI. TonyB maintains a separate email for transactions through the CDC he used to manage SVD -Slavic Village Development Corporation. Feds should be investigating him. Vote for Council reduction - it is your right. (Sam Allard I have shared all of this with you).


Mariah - here is Allard's reference to your work:
In Kelley's defense, no one has offered an explanation for what this supposed independent study will attempt to demonstrate, or even what questions it will ask. Both and local justice advocate Mariah Crenshaw have compiled data to show that Cleveland has both a larger and better-paid council than legislative bodies in peer cities. That's just a fact.

I have blind copied the AG's office since I filed a complaint about Tony Brancatelli and there is obvious collusion and evidence of racketeering outlined in Allard's article.
Just this past week - Ward 12 Councilman Tony Brancatelli campaigned at the South Brooklyn Branch Library under guise of registering people to vote.  How ironic since - Cuyahoga BOE is engaging in voter suppression by claiming that the withdrawal of the petition is valid and that the council reduction votes will not be counted. Ohio Revised Code is evidently optional in NEO.
This whole mess reeks of corruption and payouts.  And, where is the separation of church and state?  Cleveland Foundation just announced
Our $75K grant to Cleveland Clergy Alliance will help it expand its Connecting Seniors to Services Initiative, which helps senior community members get assistance with everything from home repairs to personal finance. Learn more about our recent grants:

Cleveland Clergy Alliance

What the hell?  Another housing NGO - what is the purpose of Cleveland Housing Network, Famicos, Community Housing Solutions - AND the Cuyahoga Land nauseum.

Mariah - Allard and the rest of the media don't want citizens to vote and change the money game in this town.  Suppressing the black vote is key to maintaining the sick NGO infrastructure that is bleeding Cleveland and Cuyahoga County to death.

Voter Suppression in Cuyahoga County-Call Dave Ward at SOS

 From Therese Poherence:

Ok boys and girls. We need everyone to call the Secretary of State's Office about our issues 3 and 4 not being counted.

Apparently someone named O'Malley* at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections hasn't signed the final paperwork about not counting those issues. We can't file a Federal Law Suite about Voter Suppression until this last thing is signed.

We need all of our grass roots activists to call the Secretary of State and ask to look into why, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is sitting on this paperwork? Are they going to allow these issues to be counted??

The number to call is 877-767-3453

It's also called 877-SOS-FILE choose number 1!!

If the State doesn't have control over this who does??

I can't believe this gang of Thugs we have running the City are able to Suppress our votes like this!

Once again, if we can get this done, we move on to reinstating an elected school board!!

*County Prosecutor Mike O'Malley has to sign off on this and is likely holding out to day before election to counter lawsuit for voter suppression.

Dave Ward

Dave Ward | Director of Constituent Affairs
Office of the Ohio Secretary of State
O: 614.644.0816

Have the Haslams and Gilberts been priming the pump?

Have the Haslams and Gilberts been priming the pump?

by Chuck Hoven

     What should local politicians do when billionaires come calling for a handout?

     A recent post on a social media site featured a photo of Star Trek’s Spock, a character dedicated to logic. Underneath the photo is a comment about billionaires who claim they need a public contribution to make a project possible. Roughly paraphrased, the logical Spock comment is “When a billionaire tells you he/or she needs your money to do a project, either A) They are not a billionaire, or B) They are a liar.”


     Local politicians should not be so ready to believe the local billionaire owners of our major league sports teams when they say they need public dollars for their grandiose plans for the lakefront and the riverfront. Cleveland Browns owners James and Susan Haslam are pushing a lakefront development plan, while Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert (Rock Holdings) is pushing a riverfront development plan.

     Doesn’t Cleveland, with the highest child poverty rate of any big city in the country, have other more important priorities?

     With local politicians lining up to support these billionaires’ plans rather than addressing Cleveland’s longstanding child poverty crisis, one wonders how much have the politicians received in campaign contributions? Have the Haslams and Gilberts been priming the pump to get support for their projects?

     Just a quick look at some Ohio Secretary of State campaign contribution forms from some local politicians would make one conclude the answer is “yes.”

     The Council Leadership Fund, controlled by Cleveland City Council’s leadership, received a donation of $13,704.41 from Rock Holdings PAC of Lansing, Michigan on 10/15/2021. A few days later, on 10/19/2021, the Council Leadership Fund recorded a donation of $13,700 from Susan Haslam of Knoxville, TN.

     Newly elected Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne is also a recipient of campaign donations. On December 20, 2021, the Committee to Elect Chris Ronayne received a check from Susan Haslam for $5,000 and another check from James Haslam for $5,000.

     Ward 3 City Council Representative Kerry McCormack, whose ward includes the downtown area is also a recipient of donations from the Haslams. A Friends of Kerry McCormack campaign finance report to the Office of the Ohio Secretary of State reports that on August 16, 2021, Susan Haslam and James Haslam of Knoxville, TN each donated $1,500 to the campaign for a total contribution of $3,000.

     Rock Holdings State PAC-OH, which has a Lansing, Michigan address donated $3,000 to Friends of Blaine Griffin on 9/29/2021.

Feasibility Study Funded

     Cleveland City Council has already agreed to spend $5 million for a study to determine the feasibility of building a land bridge called the North Coast Connector to go across the Shoreway and the railroad tracks connecting Mall C and the lawn next to City Hall to the lakefront. The State of Ohio Department of Transportation’s Office of Jobs and Commerce is chipping in another $5 million to pay for half of the feasibility study. The North Coast Connector is to be another option, besides E. 9th and W. 3rd, for pedestrians or cyclists to go to the lakefront.

     Several community meetings, most likely funded as part of the feasibility study, are scheduled for public participation in the feasibility study. The meetings called Community Visioning Workshops are as follows: Saturday, May 6 from 2-4 p.m. at Inlet Dance Theatre, The Pivot Center for Art, Dance and Expression, 2937 W. 25th Street; Tuesday, May 9, 5:30-7:30 p.m., EJ Kovacic Recreation Center, Second Floor, 6250 St. Clair Ave.; and on May 11, a Virtual Meeting on Zoom.  For more information and a link to sign up to attend one of the meetings visit