Trooper troubles for ex-East Cleveland mayor as Newbury home in his name is raided

CLEVELAND, OHEJBNEWS has learned from a witness that two marked Ohio State Highway Patrol vehicles carrying troopers, and three unmarked vehicles, arrived at the Newbury Road home the former mayor and his family lived in and searched it and the car in the driveway on Wednesday, January 22.  The witness did not say if Gary Alexander Norton, Jr. was present for the search of foreclosed property that’s still in his name.

Once the barely-maintained home of East Clevelands first family, the 2120 Newbury home Gary Norton was left by a grandparent has been in foreclosure at least three times even while he and his former wife were knocking off over $200,000 a year.

Norton was elected by East Cleveland voters in 2009 after he obtained drag pictures Pitassio Taylor criminally-obtained from restricted files on this writer’s personal computer and conspired with Michael Smedley, former chief of police Ralph Spotts and Art McKoy to distribute the stolen property to voters and the media.    Norton, Smedley and McKoy delivered the pictures to ex-WKYC scumbag Tom Meyer to broadcast on the September 23rd day this writer’s father died.   

Norton’s criminal misuse of stolen property gave East Cleveland voters a mayor whose transcripts between Morehouse University and Cleveland State University (CSU) show 10 D’s and 8 F’s.  Morehouse officials withdrew him for failing grades after three years.  Somehow late CSU urban planning college founder bestowed a masters degree on him.  Miami Dade County government fired Norton after six months from the management training job he’d poorly-performed.

From September 30 to December 31, 2009, Norton criminally-obstructed the incumbent mayor’s performance of official duties by threatening employees with termination if they complied with the rightful office holder’s lawful instructions.   One of the instructions Norton obstructed was for Spotts, in his official capacity as this writer’s chief of police, to meet with FBI Special Agent in Charge Frank Figgliuzzi to investigate allegations that patrol officer David Hicks murdered Sandra “Little Bit” Varney and dumped her body behind the Noble Motel in 2006.   

After making her look like a fool to his county co-workers when hubby Gary Norton, Jr. worked for ex-Cuyahoga County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones, and after picking up her own criminal conviction for stealing money from her principal colleagues. After living with him sending pictures of his tiny penis from their bedroom to his ex-girlfriend, Nikki, and revealing to the world he couldnt have been palying down much “pipe.” And even after sticking with him through a recall and a career as an Uber driver, it appears in 2018 Shalom Norton said “enough” and divorced Gary.

This writer shared information about the Varney homicide with Norton during their “brief” transition meeting after he rejected a more formal transition for his “back door” and unlawful interactions with employees the “president of council” had no lawful authority to interact with under Title 7’s general statutes.  Instead of pursuing the murder investigation this writer had shared with Norton that Spotts sought to obstruct, the mayor-elect took office and assigned Hicks to instead create a “corruption investigation” against this writer that went nowhere. 

Spotts and Hicks are now splitting $15 million each out of their $30 million contribution to the $50 million settlement East Cleveland taxpayers must pay to Arnold Black after Norton let them violate his civil rights.  Norton and Spotts let Hicks beat a handcuffed Black and lock him a police station closet without food or access to a toilet in a 96 percent Black city.

Sandra “Little Bit” Varneys murder investigation was obstructed by Gary Norton, Ralph Spotts and her alleged killer, David Hicks.

Norton’s grades and prior career as a letter-writer for the Cleveland Scholarship Foundation and the Cleveland school district’s superintendent helped him work as ex-commissioner Peter Lawson Jones’ administrative assistant.  But his typemanship skills didn’t help him perform competently when Jones demoted Norton and he was assigned to work in the county department of development. 

Former director and ex-Euclid Mayor Paul Oyaski assigned several HUD-eligible homes for Norton to move through the statutory renovation process indentified in the county’s grant agreement with the federal agency that spelled out all the laws Norton had to apply and obey.  One of them was the Hatch Act the county had promised its employees would not violate.

Gary Norton was hired “once” in his life to manage something. Then he was terminated by Miami Dade County government.

The Hatch Act didn’t matter to Norton as he campaigned for East Cleveland mayor in a partisan primary as a Democrat while being paid out of a pool of federal funds.  Not a single home was renovated and Norton’s time card showed him claiming days off for being sick on days he had scheduled appearances.  Oyaski gave him a choice of resigning or being fired.  Norton resigned but his dishonesty didn’t end. 

Prior to taking office Norton personally wrote an ordinance that assigned a $45,000 to $60,000 wage to the safety director’s job he intended for himself in 2010.  He used the council presidency to introduce the ordinance off the agenda and to push its passage with his own vote.  The mayor’s veto identified the very same wrongs with it that Ohio’s Auditor of State later confirmed in an audit.  Norton’s mother shouted to voters he wasn’t a thief.  The public records say otherwise.

Even after dragging the city’s taxpayers into fiscal emergency, and failing to give them salt while using their money to buy himself a $50,000 SUV, Norton returned after they recalled him in 2015 to steal more.  The police chief’s secretary who was alleged to have given  him a blowjob that led Norton to excuse her stealing an extra check after reporting one lost, signed the community development director’s signature to a demolition contract for him that got her busted by the FBI.

The witness who captured a photograph of the last of five law enforcement vehicles that arrived carrying Ohio Highway Patrol troopers at a Newbury Road home the former mayor of East Cleveland and his family lived in said both the home and vehicle were searched. 

After East Cleveland voters recalled Norton and councilman Thomas Wheeler in 2015, the unskilled college graduate with a master’s degree in urban planning drove for Uber and residents who have visited the car distributor said the kleptomaniac ex-politician sells used vehicles for Rick Case Motorcars.

Among the duties of the Ohio Highway Patrol is to enforce vehicle registration, titling and odometer laws.  State laws prevents them from entering municipal corporations to serve warrants and East Cleveland is not a township where they would be authorized to deliver one and search a home.  They would have authority within the municipal corporation relative to the law enforcement agency’s “titling” and “vehicle registration” duties.

Huron Hospital had become the #1 gunshot wound trauma center in Ohio and provided East Cleveland residents with an emergency room that helped make EMS response time the best in the region. Council enacted a resolution instructing the mayor he had no authority to negotiate with Cleveland Clinic CEO Delos Cosgrove. Once that resolution was passed Norton’s authority to discuss anything with the corporation was wiped out, but he didn’t stop. He and Cosgrove signed an illegal deal. Cosgrove delivered $8 million to an account Norton and ex-finance director Ron Brooks created without council knowledge; and they spent every dime without it ever being added to the budget and approved by council. None of the money went for EMS vehicles, salt, or vehicles to plow the city’s streets. The former mayor paved Terrace Road in front of Huron Hospital. The street now is unusable in front of where the hospital once existed.

Norton’s current employer, Rick Case, operates under a state-approved dealer’s license.  A search of the regulatory agencies like the Federal Trade Commission doesn’t show the type of “statutory” drama that got the FBI adding Ohio State University athletes to an investigation of who gave them and family members deeply-discounted cars among Ohio auto dealers.  The dealer’s name doesn’t show up in a search of the Federal Trade Commission’s database for any Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act violations that require dealers information about cars to be detailed and accurate. 

Honesty in administrative transactions is not a Norton trait.  As East Cleveland’s council president he once took the city’s operating budget and made personal changes he resubmitted as the original without informing the mayor or finance director.  It’s possible the Ohio Highway Patrol officers could have been investigating Norton based on a “titling and registration” complaint from his employer.


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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