AdvanceOhio won’t reveal its political clients to readers

CLEVELAND, OH – The AdvanceOhio chief executive who normally has a lot to say in controlled media settings about the city’s political affairs and public figures was unusually terse in his email to EJBNEWS that sought his response to Cleveland councilman Kenneth Johnson’s description of stories by reporter Mark Naymik as “fake news.”  The independent website also asked Quinn if he would identify AdvanceOhio’s political, institutional and corporate clients; and the articles and acts that have been created to support their campaigns.

“I will not be responding to your inquiries,” Quinn wrote as he copied AdvanceOhio employees George Rodrigue, Elizabeth Sullivan and Naymik.

Johnson has flat out called Naymik’s series of articles false and unsupported by public record that shows him violating a criminal law or failing to perform a public duty.  EJBNEWS asked Quinn to provide the following information in support of Naymik’s conclusions.

1.  Was there a review of Naymik’s conclusions with a law enforcement officer knowledgeable in municipal laws and the ordinances of the city of Cleveland prior to publication of the stories he authored about Councilman Johnson?
2.  Does Naymik’s resume` include specialized knowledge of municipal laws in general, and the charter and ordinances of the city of Cleveland?
3.  Did Naymik consult the city’s governing documents prior to writing the stories published by AdvanceOhio?
4.  Did Naymik use R.C. 149.43 to request public records from the city of Cleveland’s council or department of law regarding the following?
      – Written opinions of the director of law regarding Councilman Johnson from 1981 through the current?
      – Complaints that have been filed against Councilman Johnson that alleged he exceeded or failed to perform duties authorized by the city’s governing documents?
      – Prosecution referals from the Auditor of State, Internal Auditor to a municipal or county prosecutor that identified acts Councilman Johnson committed as criminal violations of law?  

EJBNEWS in its email to Quinn, Rodrigue, Sullivan and Naymik sought to learn why so much editorial coverage was being directed to attack an elected official whose career has never been embroiled in a public controversy that wasn’t created by reporters instead of allegations of known criminal misconduct.

EJBNEWS offered, as an example, the role the newspaper’s ex-publisher, Terrence Egger, played on the Cleveland Clinic board in support of ex-CEO Delos Cosgrove’s unlawful contract with Gary Norton to close Huron Hospital in East Cleveland.

EGGER’S CONFLICTS:  Terrence Egger served on the Cleveland Clinic board and supported a vote to enter an illegal contract with the former Mayor of East Cleveland to close Huron Hospital for $20 million.  I shared in my article that Cleveland Clinic officials knowingly entered a contract with a mayor whose sole duty was to enforce the ordinance council enacted which instructed him not to negotiate with them.  The agreement was executed by the mayor without his first obtaining council approval.  The $8 million Cleveland Clinic paid did not go to the city as it was not “received” by the council or appropriated into the budget.   Cleveland Clinic officials paid the money into a separate account the mayor created.  I need not remind you, Chris, of Ellen Kleinerman’s coverage of the illegal acts.  I further need not remind you how the PD covered the county reform discussion after Egger invested $15,000 of his own money to fund Bill Mason’s “change the charter” campaign while he was running a public relations and marketing firm out of the prosecuting attorney’s office with his partner Tom Day.

AdvanceOhio executive Chris Quinn did not want to discuss ex-publisher Terrence Egger’s role on the Cleveland Clinic board in closing Huron Hospital in East Cleveland.
The conduct I’ve described is clearly unethical.  Some of it is criminal.  The agreement between Cleveland Clinic officials and Norton is a criminal tool.  There is no doubt of the publisher’s involvement in Huron hospital’s closing.  The absence of information anywhere in the Plain Dealer or cleveland.com‘s databases about the illegality of the agreement reflects the concealment of acts that editors of a newspaper driven to protect the public’s interest would see as criminal and a great harm to the public.
The fact there is absolutely no Plain Dealer interpretation of the agreement between Cleveland Clinic and Norton as criminal, as well as no evidence of an editorial demand to know what happened to the $8 million, supports any logical person’s wonderment as to why a newspaper that proclaims to protect the public’s interest ignored such a major crime scandal.  The sensible are reminded of David Packer of the National Enquirer and the steps he took to protect Donald Trump.  
What’s even more insidious is the newspaper had an obligation to protect the residents of East Cleveland and Cleveland who used the hospital’s emergency room to save lives, and for economic support, by exposing the criminal acts its publisher and the Cleveland Clinic board were engaging in with the duty-exceeding mayor.  There was no “editorial alarm” sounded by reporters like Naymik back then.  The Plain Dealer was not our PauL “the redcoats are coming” Revere.  There was no warning from the Plain Dealer to trusting readers that its publisher was voting and conspiring to fuck over them.  You didn’t give them shit in the way of a warning or editorial protection.  Which is why the coverage of Johnson seems suspicious.

In its final two questions to Quinn and the other AdvanceOhio employees, EJBNEWS sought to learn the rationale behind a newspaper that editorially supports criminal acts in high places that harm  more people while concentrating its editorial on lower officials who’ve committed no criminal acts; and creating the public impression that he’s the worst type of official.

1.  Would AdvanceOhio’s news entities endorse a federal investigation of Huron Hospital’s closing even if it means the possible criminal prosecution of its former publisher?  
2.  What is the basis of the reporting of acts committed by Ward 4 Councilman Johnson that are not violations of law, misconduct or neglect of duty?

Eric Jonathan Brewer

Cleveland's most influential journalist and East Cleveland's most successful mayor is an East Saint Louis, Illinois native whose father led the city's petition drive in 1969 to elect the first black mayor in 1971. Eric is an old-school investigative reporter whose 40-year body of editorial work has been demonstrably effective. No local journalist is feared or respected more.

Trained in newspaper publishing by the legendary Call & Post Publisher William Otis Walker in 1978 when it was the nation's 5th largest Black-owned publication, Eric has published and edited 13 local, regional and statewide publications across Ohio. Adding to his publishing and reporting resume is Eric's career in government. Eric served as the city's highest paid part-time Special Assistant to ex-Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White. He served as Chief of Staff to ex-East Cleveland Mayor Emmanuel Onunwor; and Chief of Communications to the late George James in his capacity as the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's first Black executive director. Eric was appointed to serve as a member of the state's Financial Planning & Supervision Commission to guide the East Cleveland school district out of fiscal emergency and $20 million deficit. Former U.S. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson told Eric in his D.C. office he was the only mayor in the nation simultaneously-managing a municipal block grant program. Eric wrote the city's $2.2 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant application. A HUD Inspector General audit of his management of the block grant program resulted in "zero" audit findings.

As a newspaper publisher, Eric has used his insider's detailed knowledge of government and his publications to lead the FBI and state prosecutors to investigations that resulted in criminal prosecutions of well-known elected officials in Ohio; and have helped realign Cleveland's political landscape with the defeat of candidates and issues he's exposed. Eric's stories led to the indictments of the late Governor George Voinovich's brother, Paul Voinovich of the V Group, and four associates. He asked the FBI to investigate the mayor he'd served as chief of staff for public corruption; and testified in three federal trials for the prosecution. He forced former Cuyahoga County Coroner Dr. Elizabeth Balraj to admit her investigations of police killings were fraudulent; and to issue notices to local police that her investigators would control police killing investigations. Eric's current work has resulted in Cuyahoga County Judge John Russo accepting the criminal complaint he guided an activist to file against 24 civil rights-violating police officers in the city he once led for operating without valid peace officer credentials. USA Today reporters picked up on Eric's police credentials reporting from his social media page and made it national.

Eric is the author of of his first book, "Fight Police License Plate Spying," which examines the FBI and local police misuse of the National Crime Information Center criminal records history database. An accomplished trumpet player and singer whose friendship with Duke Fakir of the Four Tops resulted in his singing the show's closing song, "Can't Help Myself": Curtis Sliwa of New York's Guardian Angels counts Eric among his founding chapter leaders from the early 1980's role as an Ohio organizer of over 300 volunteer crime fighters in Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown, Ohio. For his work as a young man Eric was recognized by Cleveland's Urban League as it's 1983 Young Man of the Year.

Known in Cleveland for his encyclopedic knowledge of government and history, and intimately-connected with the region's players, every local major media outlet in Cleveland has picked up on one of Eric's stories since 1979. There is no mainstream newspaper, television or radio outlet in Cleveland that does not include an interview with Eric Jonathan Brewer in its archives over the past 40 years.

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