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CLE City Council President Sweeney & the FBI Tapes
Started on Jan 17, 2013 by Angie Schmitt
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.
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