Every activist in Cleveland who thought Ernest Smith was a man for the people should let this mug shot be a reminder of his true character. This is his first arrest. Seriously. Until he got into politics the man lived a crime free life. His first arrest is also somewhat sick as it involves him human trafficking underaged American Negro teenaged girls from Detroit to Cleveland to strip for money for his back to school fundraiser.

Detective says cops didn’t tell prosecutor politician may have crossed state lines with teen strippers for school fundraiser

EAST CLEVELAND, OHEJBNEWS learned from East Cleveland police detective Scott Gardner that the cops who took statements from witnesses and exotic dancers at Council Vice President Ernest Smith’s stripfest fundraiser left out how the underaged girls traveled across state lines from Michigan to Ohio; and who transported them.

When EJBNEWS learned of the September 10 event from a city source – while police were taking statements from the women – it was shared the nearly-nude performers didn’t know Smith was an elected official.  Smith’s street name to the women he’d hired to dance for him was “Dolla Bill.” 

Information about the age of teenaged and adult Michigan women who alleged to have been driven to East Cleveland by council vice president Ernest Smith in a city vehicle was not delivered to Cuyahoga County prosecuting attorney Michael O’Malley by East Cleveland police who impounded the vehicle when he was arrested. The police officers who wrote the incident reports appear to have concealed the child trafficking across state line elements from O’Malley.

The underaged dancers were from Michigan.  The city hall source shared with this writer how Smith or “Dolla Bill” allegedly drove them from Michigan to East Cleveland.   Some were allegedly paid by “Dolla Bill” in drugs.  

Gardner called this writer from his personal cell phone on October 9.  The police captain in charge of East Cleveland’s detective bureau explained that he’d taken charges against Smith to assistant prosecutors Brent Kirvel and James Guitierrez.  They declined, Gardner said.  He described Prosecutor Michael O’Malley’s public corruption unit as “useless.”

When asked if the information in the charges included the state line border crossing for sexual purposes, Gardner said “no.”  There was no information “in the reports” the city’s police generated about how the Michigan dancers arrived in East Cleveland.  Gardner said he” personally” was not aware of the “state line” crossing information despite his knowing the teenaged and adult women were from out-of-state.

Assistant East Cleveland prosecutor Heather McCollough expressed awareness of a potential child trafficking component to Smith’s acts when she told a resident during a hallway conversation charges could be filed with both the county and federal prosecuting attorneys.  This writer was talking to a city hall visitor when they encountered McCollough in the hallway and asked her about the case prior to Gardner’s visit to the prosecuting attorney.

This is the image of a young woman Ernest Smith is alleged to have transported across state lines from Michigan.

When this writer publicly questioned McCollough about the lack of felony charges for Smith’s alleged “back to school fundraiser” at a closed bar with underaged strippers she wrote that the prosecutor declined to press felony charges.  McCollough appears to have been operating under the belief that the “child trafficking ” information was submitted to Prosecutor Michael O’Malley by Gardner and wasn’t.

Gardner told this writer he would welcome any additional information about the child trafficking information this writer was supplied with the night of the arrest.  This writer told Gardner he had statements from each of the teenaged girls and women that includes their addresses and telephone numbers; along with their dates of birth.  He was advised to initiate contact on his own instead of waiting.  

[NOTE:  This writer is East Cleveland’s former mayor.  He appointed Scott Gardner to the detective bureau, reluctantly, in 2008 in response to a recommendation by the chief of police.  This writer at the time had suspended Gardner once for insubordination.  When he realized he was talking to his former appointing authority he expressed words that he agreed with all I’d done since leaving office to expose criminal misconduct among former employees I supervised and elected officials.  He said “I know you think I’m a criminal.”  This writer’s response was, “I know you’re a criminal.” Gardner was indicted by prosecutors in Medina and Cuyahoga County on felony law violations after this writer left office.  He was convicted twice after accepting plea deals for misdemeanors.  Instead of being terminated by East Cleveland’s current mayor he was promoted to captain.]


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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