COLUMBUS, OH – East Cleveland residents may want to read the chilling words in the financial report of ex-auditor of state David Yost for insight on his “next plans” for the city as the state’s new attorney general.
Yost’s December 2018 report to the Financial Planning & Supervision Commission which oversees East Cleveland’s finances explained how the attorney general has the authority under a 2012 Ohio law to file a petition to dissolve the municipal corporation for the inability of its elected and appointed officials to perform duties authorized by law. Yost signed off on the following words:
“Section 118.31 of the Revised Code provides the procedures for legal action to dissolve a municipal corporation. If a petition is approved by the financial planning and supervision commission, if any, the attorney general shall file a legal action in the court of common pleas on behalf of the State to dissolve a municipal corporation if the municipal corporation has less than five thousand residents as of the most recent federal consensus, the municipal corporation has been under fiscal emergency for at least four consecutive years, and the implementation of the financial plan cannot be reasonably expected to correct and eliminate all fiscal emergency conditions within five years. If the court of common pleas finds that all of these conditions apply, a receiver is appointed by the court to work with the officers of the municipal corporation to wind up the affairs of and dissolve the municipal corporation.”
Yost’s 2018 “report” detailed alarming criminal acts being committed in all areas of the city’s government by Mayor Brandon King, Judge Will Dawson, the city’s finance director, Charles Iyahen, and Scott Gardner. Some of the acts, such as the way former chief of police Michael Cardilli and his former secretary, Vanessa Veals, managed the police department’s payroll records could be considered “racketeering.” Yost singled-out Dawson as the only official who isn’t depositing the court’s cash daily as required by law.
Dawson’s former secretary, Laura Smith, was arrested by the FBI after she participated in a staged robbery of court funds headed for the bank. Dawson stacked deposits instead of delivering court funds daily to the bank. Smith was indicted and has already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Judges before Dawson hired armed guards in armoured vehicles to pick up and deliver the court’s money.
What Yost identifies in their criminally-negligent and derelict acts is the groundwork for the “attorney general” to petition a court of common pleas judge to “dissolve” East Cleveland as a municipal corporation and eliminate the mayor, council, judge and school district. The report literally reads as the attorney general’s “statement of facts” and “conclusions of law” in the petition he plans to file with the court.
While the language of the statute identifies a population threshold of under 5000 to be a requirement that must be met; Yost in his report to the financial planning and supervision in his official capacity as the state’s auditor appears to address how he’ll interpret “residency” in his petition as the state’s attorney general. Yost wrote the following “key” words.
“It is mandatory that all City residents and corporations file tax returns. The annual income tax forms are mailed to City residents and businesses in January each year. The annual tax return is due by April 15th.”
He then explained how “the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) collects the City’s income tax and assists with the collection of delinquent accounts. Semi-monthly, the City receives a distribution report, an electronic funds transfer (EFT), and a report of the amounts collected by RITA.”
The statute Yost will use to petition for East Cleveland’s dissolution doesn’t require “residency” to be determined by a count of the U.S. Census. Pursuant to the city’s charter all residents are compelled to file tax returns. The number of “residents” filing returns in East Cleveland is below 5,000 as the distribution of housing units is about 75 percent rental.
East Cleveland activist Justyn Anderson told EJBNEWS he met with King and his chief of staff, Michael Smedley, to discuss the audit with resident Juanita Gowdy. Anderson said he could only sit quietly in stunned silence after Smedley discredited Yost’s report as nothing more than “his opinion.” Smedley was identified in the federal indictment of Cuyahoga County landbank employee Kenneth Tyson in December 2018.
What King, Dawson and former council president Joie Graham appear not to have understood or have responded to is the “evidence” Yost stockpiled against them as sworn elected officials.
Instead of seeing Yost’s reports as immediate steps to take to correct by reading the laws he identified and obeying them, council violated the very section of the charter he shared in the report that told them not to pass the budget before January 5 of 2019. Graham engaged in an act of dereliction of duty and council did what they wanted instead of what the charter required.
They enacted it on December 18, 2018. Ex-council president Ernest Smith failed to obey the charter before he was removed. King, Smedley and Iyahen in 2020 obstructed the current council’s efforts to comply with the charter’s budget requirements. King and Iyahen have refused to deliver any of the contracts they’ve entered or records of the public funds they’re spending. They’ve obstructed council by refusing to pay its legal counsel.
Yost’s 2018 report observed that instead of paying themselves every month as required by the charter; council pays themselves every two weeks.
What’s obstructing East Cleveland residents is the complete lack of access they have to public records and city hall from private citizens discharging the duties of statutory public offices without “oaths of office.” Council meetings are not being conducted in accordance with the charter; and the Zoom meetings in no way give the public access to the deliberations of the public body in a city with few internet options for its residents.
The closing of city hall and suspending of all laws “proclamation” King signed is a sham document and a criminal tool. So is Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s.
What every elected and appointed official in Ohio is required to do before they open their mouths at a public meeting, sign their name to an official document or give an order to another official or employee, is read “at least once” every document identified in the “Oath of Office.”
Not reading the United States Constitution, the Constitution of Ohio, the applicable chapters of the United States Code and the Revised Code of Ohio; as well as the charter and ordinances of “municipal corporations” is the reason for all the violations of the aforenamed “governing authorities.” It is a duty of every single elected official, appointed official and public employee to read and obey these documents.
I’ve shared the “Dereliction of duty” section under the Revised Code of Ohio Yost is using to prosecute elected officials and “public servants” in Ohio. A “public servant” includes contractors performing an “adjunct” function of the government. When you accept a contract its supposed to be for work the government can’t do on its own.
2921.44. Dereliction of duty
|(A)||No law enforcement officer shall negligently do any of the following:
|(B)||No law enforcement, ministerial, or judicial officer shall negligently fail to perform a lawful duty in a criminal case or proceeding.|
|(C)||No officer, having charge of a detention facility, shall negligently do any of the following:
|(D)||No public official of the state shall recklessly create a deficiency, incur a liability, or expend a greater sum than is appropriated by the general assembly for the use in any one year of the department, agency, or institution of the state with which the public official is connected.|
|(E)||No public servant shall recklessly fail to perform a duty expressly imposed by law with respect to the public servant’s office, or recklessly do any act expressly forbidden by law with respect to the public servant’s office.|
|(F)||Whoever violates this section is guilty of dereliction of duty, a misdemeanor of the second degree.|
|(G)||Except as otherwise provided by law, a public servant who is a county treasurer; county auditor; township fiscal officer; city auditor; city treasurer; village fiscal officer; village clerk-treasurer; village clerk; in the case of a municipal corporation having a charter that designates an officer who, by virtue of the charter, has duties and functions similar to those of the city or village officers referred to in this section, the officer so designated by the charter; school district treasurer; fiscal officer of a community school established under Chapter 3314. of the Revised Code; treasurer of a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics school established under Chapter 3326. of the Revised Code; or fiscal officer of a college-preparatory boarding school established under Chapter 3328. of the Revised Code and is convicted of or pleads guilty to dereliction of duty is disqualified from holding any public office, employment, or position of trust in this state for four years following the date of conviction or of entry of the plea, and is not entitled to hold any public office until any repayment or restitution required by the court is satisfied.|
|(H)||As used in this section, “public servant” includes the following: