Advance employee Terrence Egger works for the Russian-owned company, served on Cleveland Clinic's board; and concealed Gary Norton's crimes from the newspaper's readers.

Ex-Plain Dealer news boss hurt East Cleveland on Cleveland Clinic board that closed Huron Hospital

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.

Approximately $4 million was spent to renovate Huron Hospital’s main building as well as another $3.5 million to renovate its parking garage before the Plain Dealer endorsed Gary Norton for mayor in 2009.  City officials invested another $400,000 to pave Terrance Road in front of the hospital. One third of the hospital’s workers lived in the city.  It’s payroll contributed approximately $1.1 million annually to the city’s tax rolls.  Residents once enjoyed the life-saving benefit of an emergency room within 4 minutes of their doors. [Photo by Eric Jonathan Brewer]
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.

Gary Norton had no legal authority to enter an agreement with Cleveland Clinics Delos Cosgrove to close Huron Hospital and not a word of this information has ever been shared by the Plain Dealer or its cleveland.com alter ego.

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.

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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