CLE City Council President Sweeney & the FBI Tapes

CLE City Council President Sweeney & the FBI Tapes

Angie Schmitt
on Jan 17, 2013

New information exposed by the FBI as part of its ongoing NE Ohio corruption investigation raises the question of whether Cleveland City Council President Martin Sweeney accepted bribes (campaign contributions?) in exchange for securing City Council support for the business activity of a contractor that admits to bribing public officials. Michael Forlani -- who is pleaded guilty to bribery -- can be heard on the tapes talking about donating $20,000 to a council fund controlled by Sweeney in exchange for a certain number of votes (he counts on tape). The gentleman discuss how "money cures a lot of evils" in Cleveland, and discuss the need to use an intermediary to make the donation. Developer John Ferchill, the other man in the recording, says there was nothing illegal about the donation. But records that year do not show a donation to the account in either man's name. So that whole statement doesn't really check out. Also, Forlani did some repairs on Sweeney's home several years prior that have raised suspicion of impropriety, or worse. So far, Sweeney has not responded to these developments at all. My question is, how should the public in NE Ohio respond to this news? Basically, this raises a strong suspicion that President of Cleveland's City Council may have been involved in shady dealings. So far I have not heard any prominent individual call for any action as a result whatsoever. I find this sort of disappointing, especially after the region made such an issue of sweeping out corruption over the last few years. I started a petition calling for Sweeney's resignation until some kind of independent investigation could clear his name. But like I said, mostly I hear silence from the region's leaders. I think this amounts to saying we're okay as a region to have one of our largest and more influential government bodies operate under a cloud of suspicion. Is that so? I'm curious to hear what other people think because as of right now, my petition has not generated much support.

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/01/cleveland_city_council_preside_1.html


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Anonymous
on 2014-11-22T01:30:24+00:00
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Laura McShane
on Jan 20, 2013
"Thank you for having the courage to speak out against this system that undermines public trust in..."
Kevin Cronin
on Jan 18, 2013
"I signed the petition and here's my rationale: Private citizens deserve some privacy and, sadly,..."
Laura McShane
on Jan 18, 2013
"The house of cards at City Hall and Cuyahoga County is barely holding up.  I don't understand why..."
Angie Schmitt
on Jan 17, 2013
"Hey what's up, Laura!"
Laura McShane
on Jan 17, 2013
"Grateful that you have posted this and hope that there is not a fear of real discussion here."
Angie Schmitt
on Jan 17, 2013
"."
Angie Schmitt
on Jan 17, 2013
"Here's my petition in case anyone's interested.    "

Angie Schmitt

Angie Schmitt - 2014-11-22T01:30:24+00:00 - "New information exposed by the FBI as part of its ongoing NE Ohio corruption investigation raises..."

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Kevin Cronin
on Jan 18, 2013 - 12:16 pm

I signed the petition and here's my rationale: Private citizens deserve some privacy and, sadly, politicians need to/have a right to raise money. However, there are some real concerns that are not yet investigated or clarified:

1) Forlani says there was a very significant, $20,000, donation to the Sweeney campaign, but none seems to be recorded for any of the Sweeney campaign accounts. There should be some sort of documentation, either conveying the payments, depositing and recording the payment or returning the check to the donor;

2) There are also concerns related to private construction work in the Sweeney home years previously, done by Pyramid, a company controlled by Forlani. Were these services fully paid for or is there some sort of undocumented contribution or gift?;

3) a Dimora inquiry to Sweeney on behalf a bidder, Ferris Kleem, regarding a runway project at Hopkins, with Sweeney later calling to say “I took care of Ferris, if that's all right." Kleem was the low bidder and was awarded a $5 million Airport contract. Public contracting has protections against political selection. Were they fully followed?

So many questions. Until resolution, he should step down. Personally, I like the guy. But there should be more open and clear conduct on these issues.

 

Responses(1)

Laura McShane
on Jan 20, 2013

Thank you for having the courage to speak out against this system that undermines public trust in our officials.  Martin Sweeney's control of a slush fund that essentially bribes his acolytes on the board has to stop.  The slush fund has to stop.

 
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Angie Schmitt
on Jan 17, 2013 - 10:32 am

.

 
Cute-chimpanzees
Angie Schmitt
on Jan 17, 2013 - 9:38 am

Here's my petition in case anyone's interested.

 

 

 

Responses(3)

Laura McShane
on Jan 17, 2013

Grateful that you have posted this and hope that there is not a fear of real discussion here.

 
Angie Schmitt
on Jan 17, 2013

Hey what's up, Laura!

 
Laura McShane
on Jan 18, 2013

The house of cards at City Hall and Cuyahoga County is barely holding up.  I don't understand why and how we have to put up with the blatant bad characters???  I think it is so overwhelming to the general public, because it seems that everyone has to cross the line into racketeering to get anything done in this town.

Angie Schmitt has started a petition to get rid of Sweeney here:https://www.change.org/petitions/cleveland-city-council-city-council-president-martin-sweeney-should-step-down-2

And writes about the culture of corruption here:http://rustwire.com/2013/01/09/a-culture-of-corruption/

SEE Erick Trickey's tweet reflections here:http://clevelandmagazinepolitics.blogspot.com/2013/01/what-do-i-stand-for-city-councils.html

SEE Joe Baur's article on CoolCleveland:http://www.coolcleveland.com/blog/2013/01/city-council-president-martin-sweeney-should-step-down/

 
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