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Mayor Justin Bibb raised $254k for transition to Cleveland City Hall

Mayor Justin Bibb's transition fund raised $254,000 last year. Here, candidate Bibb exits the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections after voting with his grandmother last year. [Nick Castele / Ideastream Public Media]
Justin Bibb exits the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections after voting with his grandmother last year.

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb raised more than a quarter million dollars to support his two-month transition effort last year, new filings show.   

Bibb’s campaign treasurer filed the disclosures with the Ohio Secretary of State on Thursday. The transition fund reported raising about $254,000 and spending $206,000.

State law limits transition fund donations to $2,500, well below the contribution limits for mayoral campaign committees.

The fund’s donors included law firms, labor unions and professional sports teams. About $157,000 came from individuals.

Both campaign supporters and adversaries contributed to the mayor’s transition effort.

Among the unions supporting the transition were the Service Employees International Union Local 1, the Ohio Council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the United Food and Commercial Workers. All three unions supported Bibb in the campaign.

The Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council, which strongly backed Bibb's opponent Kevin Kelley, made a $2,500 contribution to the transition. Laborer’s Local 860, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers No. 38 and Bricklayers Local 5 also made maximum gifts.

Several construction companies made maximum contributions, among them Panzica Construction, Forest City Erectors and North Coast Concrete. The Construction Employers Association contributed $2,500 through its political action committee.

The Cleveland Guardians and Browns each gave $2,500 to the transition too. So did Cavaliers Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Kevin Clayton and Kofi Bonner, the CEO of Bedrock, which is owned by Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert.

Several law firms also supported the transition, including Squire Patton Boggs, Roetzel & Andress, Thompson Hine, McDonald Hopkins, Hahn Loeser & Parks, Calfee Halter & Griswold and Walter Haverfield.

The mayor’s campaign committee, Neighbors for Justin Bibb, contributed $2,500 to the transition.

The Bibb transition spent that money on staff, legal fees, payroll taxes and consulting. The fund paid $7,500 to Burges & Burges Strategists, Bibb’s campaign consultant, for transition consulting.

The firm also received a $15,668 reimbursement for the costs of Bibb’s swearing-in ceremony, according to Burges president and transition spokeswoman Vanessa Tey Iosue.

Among the paid transition staffers were several who have followed the mayor to City Hall: Chief Strategy Officer Bradford Davy, Chief Government Affairs Officer Ryan Puente, West Side Market Senior Strategist Jessica Trivisonno, Communications Senior Strategist Eden Giagnorio, Senior Advisor Angela Woodson and Connie Waddy, an assistant to the mayor. Fran DiDonato, now the city’s senior strategist for operations and organizational design, consulted for the transition.

State law requires transition funds to be terminated within 120 days of their creation, meaning Bibb’s transition fund will flicker out on March 15.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.