EAST CLEVELAND, OH – Eight days before ex-Cleveland Clinic CEO Delos Cosgrove and recalled Mayor Gary Norton signed their June 29, 2011 agreement to close Huron Hospital the city’s council stripped the mayor of the authorization to even negotiate it. “No deal” the “legislative authority” declared in Resolution No. 49-11.
Norton ignored Res. No. 49-11 and, along with ex-law director Ronald Riley and finance director Ron Brooks, signed their names on the Cleveland Clinic document as if the council had seen and approved it. None of these details were included in the article Ellen Kleinerman wrote for the Plain Dealer. Terrence Egger, the newspaper’s publisher and Cleveland Clinic board member, didn’t want them known. Cleveland Clinic’s legal counsel, Dan Rowan, didn’t have any “Rule 11” worries about his signature on the fraudulent legal agreement.
The 10-page fraudulent and council unapproved document the five men negotiated and signed in secret is captioned, “Cooperation in Orderly Cessation of Services at Huron Hospital.”
“East Cleveland agrees to cooperate with Cleveland Clinic to effect an orderly and efficient closure of Huron Hospital and the transition of patient care. East Cleveland, on its own behalf and on behalf of its governmental officials, its Council, other bodies, boards and councils of any kinds, and its officers, departments, employees, agents, attorneys, affiliates, successors and assigns, hereby forever waives, releases and discharges Cleveland Clinic and its affiliates and their respective members, officers, directors, trustees, employees, agents, attorneys, donors, affiliates, successors and assignees (Cleveland Clinic Parties), from any and all known and unknown claims, demands, injuries, damages, actions, costs, expenses, attorneys fees, liability and suits in equity or law, known or unknown, that arise out of or relate to the closing of Huron Hospital building ….”
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson filed a claim to try and stop it. Norton gave lip service to Jackson that he supported the continued operation of Huron Hospital. But the clear violation of Ohio’s open meetings laws were never reported by the Plain Dealer’s Kleinerman when Cosgrove and Norton announced the agreement outside the city.
In Section 10 under the heading, “Public Communication,” East Cleveland citizens, business owners and the council they elected to publicly conduct their business got only the notice Cosgrove and Norton decided to give them.
“Upon execution of this Cooperation Agreement, the parties agree to jointly issue a statement explaining the Cooperation Agreement in the form attached hereto as Exhibit B. Except as may be required to comply with the requirements of any applicable law, the parties agree that any subsequent communications will be consistent with the terms of this Cooperation Agreement and the statement attached hereto as Exhibit B.”
Former East Cleveland Mayor Darryl Pittman an attorney read the agreement and determined that nothing about it was public or legal. Pittman said at the time that criminal acts were clearly committed by Cleveland Clinic officials in conspiracy with Norton, Riley and Brooks. Norton’s only duty was to enforce Res. No. 49-11.
Pittman was the city’s first mayor between 1986 and 1989 and helped council draft a writ of mandamus to force Norton to perform the mayor’s duties. Pittman said in 2011 that, “No one’s going to investigate Huron Hospital’s closing in East Cleveland.”
So far he’s been right as the city faces the devastation of the Plain Dealer’s ex-publisher’s role in closing its largest employer and increasing the death toll to gunshot violence. Huron Hospital when it closed was Ohio’s #1 gunshot wound medical trauma center.
The paper trail is easy to follow and so are the identities of the players because their names are all on the agreement Norton, Cosgrove, Rowan, Brooks and Riley signed.
Language in the agreement the five men signed in their official capacities can easily be refuted if U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Justin Herdman, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley or Ohio Attorney General David Yost questioned the five men and the four surviving members of East Cleveland council to verify if the affirmations in it are supported by the city’s official records; and comply with the city’s charter and ordinances, Ohio and federal laws.