George Michael Riley is an environmental terrorist who is being investigated by federal agents for bribing elected and appointed public officials to receive demolition contracts he dumped illegally behind residential homes on Noble Road; and within 1000 feet of Collinwood High School and Apex Charter Elementary School.

Illegal Noble Road dump operator headed for trial in 2019

EAST CLEVELAND, OH –  Witnesses are starting to receive notices from Ohio Attorney General Richard Michael DeWine to appear in the civil trial next year of George Michael Riley and Christine Beynon for operating an illegal construction and demolition debris dump in a densely-populated urban neighborhood and behind residential homes. 

The trial is scheduled for June 24, 2019 in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas and has been assigned to Judge Sean Gallagher.  DeWine wants Riley and Beynon to pay $10,000 a day in fines for every day they were in violation of state laws that prohibitted illegal dumping.  EJBNEWS obtained a copy of the letter DeWine’s office is sending to potential witnesses.

The dump once located at 1705 Noble Road by Beynon and Riley’s “Arco Recyling, Inc.” accepted more than 200,000 cubic yards of deadly construction and debris that created highly-cancerous conditions on property and in a neighborhood that  had already been contaminated by General Electric using it to manufacture lighting.

A General Electric official told EJBNEWS two years ago that the global corporation knew its light manufacturing had already contaminated the property and surrounding area with poisonous mercury; but would not readily-accept responsibility for its “cradle to the grave” requirements under the federal Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) without a plaintiff taking it to court.

Recalled ex-East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton’s former girlfriend said he paid her $700 a week in cash on a $40,000 a year salary

Recalled ex-Mayor Gary Norton, Council President Thomas Wheeler and current Mayor Brandon King rigged the ordinance enactment process laws found in Title 7, East Cleveland’s charter, ordinances, and councils rules to deliver the GE site to Riley in 2014.

Norton, Wheeler and King pushed council to pass Resolution No. 11-14 delivering the property to Ohio Rock, LLC for $125,000 as an emergency.  The money, according to Norton and the councilmen, was supposed to be used for payroll.   Riley and Beynon were instructed by the resolution to get the property ready for re-development.  There was no mention of or authorization for them to open a recycling facility or a construction and demolition debris landfill.

Thomas Wheeler and Brandon King led council to pass Res. No. 11-14 that transferred the 1705 Noble Road property to be readied for redevelopment but took no steps to enforce it after he opened an illegal dump he called a recycling facility that never recycled any of the more than 5 story pile of 1000 demolished homes.

While DeWine’s claim against Riley reads that the “city” transferred the title of the property to 1705 Noble Road Properties, LLC on May 1, 2014; the $10 title transfer was made by Norton in violation of the landbank ordinance without a resolution or council approval.  Landbank properties must remain in the city’s name for two years until the intent of the resolution is fulfilled or else it reverts back to the city.  Council controls a city’s property.  Not the mayor.

Norton’s decision to secretly transfer the property to another corporation Riley controlled that was not named in the resolution reinforces allegations that he and Riley had a separate “cash” deal with each other. 

Norton’s former girlfriend, “Nikki,” previously told EJBNEWS he delivered her $700 week cash on his $40,000 salary with a wife and three daughters.  Norton’s wife, Shalom Lawrence-Norton, was granted a dissolution of their marriage in September.

Ohio EPA director gave Arco’s owners permission to open the illegal construction and demolition debris landfill behind residential homes; and then conducted 26 inspections without ever testing the “fugitive dust” inspectors identified to learn that it contained asbestos and other contaminants deadly to humans. Butler met with State Senator Kenny Yuko and sarcastically told him that two women who died of cancer would have died anyway.

Norton and Riley’s criminal acts of deception voided the resolution and automatically reversed ownership iof the Noble Road property back to the city.  But King, who became mayor after Norton’s recall in December 2015, took no steps to close the dump, enforce the resolution that instructed Riley and Beynon to redevelop the property or to have the ex-mayor’s illegal acts investigated and prosecuted. 

Noble Road resident Harry Drummond, whose wife, children and grandchildren breathed in the deadly toxins the dump spewed into the air for nearly 4 years, told EJBNEWS he saw King enter and leave the trailer where Riley operated his office after residents complained.  King publicly-announced after his quick meeting with Riley that the dump was legal and safe.

George Michael Riley’s attorney, Robert Casarona, has cited irreconcilable differences that makes him not want the illegal dump operator as a client.

U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge reached out to Ohio EPA director Craig Butler in 2015 and was told in writing by Governor John Kasich’s appointee that the illegal dump he’d authorized to open was asbestos-free.

Butler’s lie to a member of Congress contradicted information on the U.S. EPA’s website that construction and demolition debris landfills should never be opened in residential neighborhoods; and that they naturally created environmental conditions that caused cancer in humans.

Former East Cleveland Mayor Eric Jonathan Brewer sought the help of industrial hygienist Jim  Riffle of Auburn Environmental in December 2016 who volunteered to conduct tests of Drummond’s home.  Riffle produced a report the following month that Brewer shared via phone message to Butler’s office on Rev. Martin Luther King’s January 17, 2017 federal birthday holiday. 

Butler assigned Kurt Princic to return Brewer’s call after learning by message that his “no asbsetos” lie to Fudge had been exposed.  Butler knew Riffle’s tests were conducted by ALS Global Environmental.  He decided that day to order Arco’s Riley and Beynon to close the illegal facility.

Five months later in May the Cuyahoga County Board of Health declared the site a nuisance and sought funds to clean it up.

The county health board declared that Arco’s owners and complicit city officials forced suffering on the Noble Road and surrounding residents.

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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