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The Sound of Ideas

Public Corruption and Benign Complicity

Posted Wednesday, September 23, 2009

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People are losing faith in their elected government, be it New Jersey or Cuyahoga County; constituents and entire regions suffer because of political corruption. One local leader suggests the silver lining to a federal investigation is that weeds will be cut out before they grow into trees. Is it possible for politicians to stay on the straight and narrow when political campaigns can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars? Seems someone will always owe someone a favor. Join Dan Moulthrop and guests for a candid conversation on keeping your nose clean in politics, Wednesday at 9 on 90.3.


Government/Politics, Other, Community/Human Interest, Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement


Judy Rawson, Former Mayor of Shaker Heights
Joe Cimperman, Cleveland City Councilman, Ward 13
Jim Rokakis, Cuyahoga County Treasurer
Chris Redfern, Chairman, Ohio Democratic Party
Gary Norton, Chair, East Cleveland City Council

Additional Information

Late last week the chief administrator in the office of Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo implicated herself and her boss in a decade long kickback scheme. This latest twist in the federal corruption probe is still reverberating and it was the subject of Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program on 90.3. ideastream® Executive Editor David Molpus has more.

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Please follow our community discussion rules when composing your comments.

Steve 8:49 AM 9/23/09

We are having conversation while this city is burning money burning dreams and hopes of the people in this city. I see no leadership from government or corporations other than marketing gambits with no desire to build to the potential
this area has.

Matt Bolek 8:58 AM 9/23/09

Regarding the psoble prpoerty tax appraisla - What does Cimperman say regrading the inflated and often inaccurate Tremont appraisals. - And the use of eminent domain within the neighborhood - ie the home that was demolished on the corner of w14 - at the entrance to Tremont - Leaving the occupant homeess.???

Ryan 9:01 AM 9/23/09

Dan, great show.  I must say, the mayor of Cleveland needs to step up.  Get him on the show or is he the next to be charged?  perhaps?

The nuclear option is something that should be done, quickly.  The city is dying fast, we can’t wait for true leadership.  Tim McCormick we need you back....

Richard A DeColibus 9:06 AM 9/23/09

Rokakis is dead right; the federal investigation has gone on way too long.  The subjects collect salary and benefits (read: health care) day after day while hanging on (what other jobs can they go to?).  They need to be indicted and off the public payroll; why more than a year?

John 9:25 AM 9/23/09

I find it interesting that even after information has surfaced that some people feel that it is still necessary to try and discredit people. I stated that I worked for the Auditor and that I sent information to the Commissioners.

Included in this information were comments about people paying for their jobs, Illegal appraisal practices and other things that I verified prior to putting them in writing.

I sent this information after speaking with the Ohio Attorney Generals office. I was informed that the Commissioners would be the one’s who had over sight over Russo.

As and appraiser in the Auditors office I heard and saw a lot of questionable activity.
It is easy for someone to say that people were complicit when they did not work in that enviroment.

There are a lot of hard working individuals in the Auditors office. Most hired prior to Russo. The fact that ANYONE who questioned anything would be reported by Russo loyalists was the reason people kept quite. Fear of losing a job, not being able to find another job. Fear of the Prosecutor’s office backing the Auditor and his staff.

This was a daily thing that employee’s had to worry about.

I chose not to be one of the people who would be charged with a crime. I was told to do something and I questioned it. I took things to the Media. NO ONE stopped what happened to me. I was not a DISGRUNTLED employee.

I knew what I was asked to do was ETHICALLY and MORALLY wrong. I asked for help from the Commissioners. They chose to take the information and give it back to Frank Russo.

I was questioned by a Prosecutor. I told him about the Forced Illegal Appraisals. He helped Russo and gang remove me.

So please remember that the employees were shown what would happen to them if they questioned illegal activity.

They would lose their jobs. The Prosecutor’s office would help. The Commissioners would not help. So who were people suppose to go to?

Mr. Rokakis is doing the right thing now. Everything happens for a reason. No one should second guess why this was not stopped before.

You can’t remove someone on speculation. You have to have evidence. And when there is evidence it has to be given to the authotities that will not be bought. That is why what is occurring now does not involve the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor.

Thomas 9:50 AM 9/23/09

The entire Cuyahoga County system needs to be blown up. The new proposals have 11 to 13 elected “commissioners” but this will just continue the petty fighting. We need three elected county managers to run everything. Los Angeles County has three officials and their budget is larger than 30 states.  The current method is what you get when voters allow one corrupt party to put their people in place.
One of your panelists said everyone complains but still likes their own congress rep. Not me. Rep. Fudge was “appointed” by the Dem machine. She never did anything worthy of serving in the US Congress. Other than come out of Bedford, home of Jimmy Dimora.

lmcshane 10:06 AM 9/23/09

I was not surprised to see that Brian Cummins did not show up, because I suspect he knew I would ask him about the mysterious demolitions that have taken place along commercial corridors to prime land deals set up by his predecessors, Lipovan, Gordon, Rokakis and others. There are two games in this town.  Contract steering and real estate.  While everyone focuses on Russo/Dimora and their buddy system, no one examines Rokakis/Frangos, their buddy system, and the land bank.  The media is just slobbering over these so-called saints.  Brian Cummins needs to redeem himself, before he gets swallowed up by the CDC/SII schemes.  Cimperman is long gone.

William Boyd 12:20 PM 9/23/09

Well done, Dan. This morning (Wed) you and your participants probed deeper and wider than others have been willing to go.  But y’all and the Feds and the PD staff are all just (deliberately?) scratching the surface of the Cleveland and Cuyahoga 50-Years Problem.  Entrepreneurship has always been adamantly prevented, limited to only an obedient few, even during the past 10 years of it seeming to flourish, being well publicized.  The CC Board of Elections, paid by public taxes, has always been the controlled tool of the Dems and Reps Coalition, nastily disadvantaging all outsiders. “Independents” now number more voters than D’s and R’s combined, but have no say.  In Ohio generally and CuyCty particularly, it’s nationally known that jiggering the voting machines is always available to win the important races.  Most important of all, throughout ALL Cty and Cleve government and major corporate offices, ALL managers are apprehensively afraid to make important “development or change” decisions, or to even pass along worthy ideas.  For at least 50 years.  Why?  Afraid of whom?  Why was Manufacturing discarded?  The Railroads deleted from Terminal Tower?  A few corrupt, over-priced law firms (including Rawson’s) so powerful?  I guess that’s enough for your horizons for now.

Laura McShane 1:48 PM 9/23/09

Correction: I apologize. Brian Cummins was not a no-show.  He was told that the panel needed more diversity and was disinvited last night.  It would have been good to explain this absence on the air.


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