CLEVELAND, OH – “Enough is enough” is the clear message coming from Mayor Frank Jackson’s office. Jackson’s top administrator, Valarie McCall, told EJBNEWS the mayor wants the Plain Dealer and cleveland.com to retract the Mark Naymik lie that he isn’t showing up for work because he’s caring for his wife.
McCall said Jackson is at work daily and Naymik’s report that he isn’t is false. It’s especially false, she said, since Naymik and other journalists have been given Jackson’s schedule.
McCall said Naymik and three other reporters from local media outlets wanted to keep tabs on the mayor, so they decided to upload his schedule to the city’s website every month. Naymik now has no excuse to lie about Jackson, but it’s a move that also pissed him off because it took away his “exclusivity.”
After not getting what he wanted the way he wanted from McCall, Naymik then wrote a story headlined, “Mayor Frank Jackson’s head in the sand approach to public relations is bad for the city.”
The basis of Naymik’s complaint was that calls for answers to his questions about Jackson’s schedule weren’t returned. Naymik then added his “completely fabricated doubts” to his blog about why Jackson and McCall decided to upload his monthly schedule.
“I also questioned City Hall’s motive. The timing of the announcement struck me as a subtle attempt to counter reports that Jackson has been absent from City Hall beginning in spring 2018 to care for his ailing wife. His time in the office was curtailed. To this day, the city has refused to acknowledge this publicly. The mayor has since returned to a more normal schedule.
I asked the press office earlier this month to comment on my doubts. (It didn’t.) And I asked for copies of the records requests from all the people who have sought the mayor’s calendar from Oct. 1, 2018, to March 1, 2019.
You’d think McCall would have the records handy since her office just declared in a statement that the demand for the calendars prompted a policy change. As of Wednesday, I had not received them. So, I complained in an email to McCall about the delay and said I planned to write about it. The city then sent me the information without comment.”
The Naymik words above display the editorial style he uses to intimidate African American elected officials to submit to his demands for public data and answers to questions. Naymik has no political experience and his writing shows he has never read or mastered Cleveland’s charter, ordinances, administrative code, or any Ohio law that controls how municipal officials perform the duties of managing municipal corporations. He operates as if his “conjectures” are facts and then seeks to prove his conjectures.
Mature and experienced elected officials have discussed the “conjecturing” blogger’s mindset and questioned why the newspaper and website’s owners allow him to think such fact “less” writing is “journalism.
When municipal officials who understand the legal duties of the public office respond within the confines of the law, Naymik threatens “to write about it” like he did with McCall if he doesn’t get a written or verbal response to his “imaginings.”
The legal course of action for public records non-compliance is to file a mandamus action with a court. Naymik prefers threats of editorial embarassment rather than the truth of a real legal action to see if his requests for “thoughts” fall within the legal definitions of the state’s revised code for the release of “public records.”
Jackson isn’t the only city official who’s tired of Naymik’s editorial intimidation. Ward 4 Councilman Kenneth Johnson has been the focus of 14 stories Naymik wrote about his $1200 monthly expense account. Johnson uses the money to buy gas for lawn mowers and snow blowers to cut grass and remove snow from the yards and sidewalks of his older homeowners.
Naymik didn’t write a single story about convicted ex-councilman Joseph Cimperman using block grant money to buy the love of his fiance`. When Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish’s office was raided by FBI agents Naymik wrote that he shouldn’t be investigated. In Naymik’s mind only African American elected officials like Jackson, Johnson, Joe Jones, TJ Dow and others are criminals.
Naymik and his employers have recently been drawing considerable negative attention to themselves from Cleveland’s majority black resident population. The blogger’s critics say he mainly targets African American politicians. An examination of the stories he’s written confirms their claims.
A city hall observer said Naymik is creating controversies that didn’t exist for African American politicians until he manufactured them; while there are white elected officials who are actually engaged in committing offenses like Budish, Cimperman and others he ignores.
Naymik didn’t write about ex-county executive Ed Fitzgerald not showing up to work in 4 years while he campaigned for governor on county time. Fitzgerald was interviewed about his campaign in the county’s administration by a WEWS-TV5 reporter in violation of the Hatch Act. Not a word about it from Naymik or the Plain Dealer though it was shared with and known by the newspaper’s bloggers.
The Plain Dealer had no curiosity about the out-of-county and state officials Fitzgerald hired and the county council appointed who voters of Cuyahoga county would never have elected.
Naymik didn’t keyboard a single word about fiscal officer Wade Steen commuting from Cuyahoga to Franklin county where he lived in a half million Upper Arlington home. Recorder Richard Sensenbrenner was from Columbus and had led that city’s council as president. Thomas Gilson was a Connecticut physician who hadn’t been licensed for over 19 years in Ohio when the state’s laws required coroners or medical examiners to be minimally-licensed for two years locally prior to serving in the offie.
Not one word has Naymik written about ex-pimp and judge Harry Jacobs being released from prison and getting his law license back. Naymik, however, jumped all over Jackson for hiring ex-judge Lance Mason upon his prison release. Political observers were stunned at the blogger’s editorial request for the FBI not to investigate Budish.
EJBNEWS has reached out to Naymik in the past for comments about his writing style and bigotry, but he’s afraid to respond to questions about his racial bigotry. This writer gave Naymik’s editor a story she assigned him to write for the defunct Free Times that resulted in his being hired by the Plain Dealer. It was the best “fact based” story of his career and one Naymik has never been able to repeat in 20 years.
EJBNEWS, however, did hear a message Naymik left Johnson where the whiney blogger begged him to return his calls. Johnson told EJBNEWS he sees Naymik as a waste of time and simply will not talk to him.
In his voicemail message to Johnson, Naymik pleads with the veteran councilman and asks why he won’t return his calls. Johnson told EJBNEWS the answer is obvious.
“He’s going to write what he wants and it doesn’t matter if it’s true.”