CLEVELAND, OH – When Richmond Heights resident Brandon King usurped the office of East Cleveland mayor as a non-resident of the city on January 1, 2018, his friend, Darryl Moore, had only made $3400 in restitution payments to the United States government through the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Ohio.
Moore had been indicted on August 16, 2007 with Leon S. Heard, Steven I. Helfgott, Robert McNair, Mark C. Olds along with other defendants involved in a mortgage fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property and conspiracy to acquire millions in dollars from investors without a securities license. They then diverted the proceeds of the dollars they’d stolen from investors to their own personal uses. Big houses, expensive cars, swanky restaurants, tailored suits and lavish lifestyles. The case number is 1:07 CR319. Look it up on PACER. Moore was “making money moves.”
Moore’s “money moves” led to him pleading guilty and being sentenced on July 11, 2008 to 53 months at the McKean Federal Corrections Institution in Bradford, Pennsylvania with three years of supervised release. He was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $1,425,819.09 on Count 2 (Securities Fraud) and $1,388,777.31 on Count 6 (Mortgage Fraud).
The U.S. Attorneys prosecuting the organized crime gang under ex-U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman at the time were John E. Patterson, Christian H. Stickan, Richard J. French, Robert J. Patton, Alex Rokakis and Bridget M. Brennan. Brennan is currently the acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio as Herdman’s replacement until President Joseph Robinette Biden’s nominee is confirmed by the United States Senate.
Moore’s conviction on all of the “fraud” offenses automatically excluded him from seeking or receiving a dime from any federal contract. He was specifically required by federal law to leave HUD dollars alone; and it was the duty of Herdman and now Brennan in the U.S. Attorney’s office to ensure that he did as the prosecuting lawyers for the federal housing agency Biden has nominated United States Representative Marcia Louise Fudge to lead.
These same duties applied, equally, to King, Hemmons and Melran Leach in his official capacity as the mayor’s director of community development. Leach had been a federal “witness” against Moore as one of the co-conspiring players in the organized securities and mortgage fraud crime gang.
As a “grantee” receiving HUD CDBG funds, it was the duty of King, Leach, Hemmons and finance director Charles Iyahen, including an unsuspecting city council, to enforce the “debarment and suspension” mandates found in the United States Code and the United States Code of Federal Regulations. Moore was ineligible to receive any municipal contracts from a federally-funded city pursuant to Chapter 24 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations Section 85.35. It is cited as 24 CFR 85.35.
Excluded Parties. Grantees must not make any award (subgrant or contract) to any organization which is debarred or suspended or is otherwise excluded from or ineligible for participation in Federal assistance programs under Executive Order 12549, ”Debarment and Suspension.” This applies to any CDBG-assisted contract at any tier in the process.
I’m sharing a link to HUD’s procurement regulations every mayor, council member and non-profit receiving CDBG dollars have a duty to know and obey. Citizen activists and journalists should master the regulations as well.
HUD’s website features a list of offenses that automatically excluded Moore from applying for or receiving the never-ending stream of no-bid contracts and “grants” King, Leach and Hemmons delivered to him between 2017 and 2021 without RFP’s, advertising or council approval. As East Cleveland council members read the HUD procurement regulations I’ve shared, its members should view all of Hemmons’ legal opinions as her criminal misuse of a usurped public office to protect how she’s been enriching herself by obstructing and violating the civil rights of their elected public offices. Hemmons has never discussed what she knew about Moore’s garnishment with council; and she’s never ensured King and Leach were obeying federal procurement laws.
After his release from prison, Moore on January 30, 2012 registered 3D Moore Enterprises LLC with the Ohio Secretary of State. His friend, King, was not yet on city council or the mayor. King entered the office of mayor without delivering an oath of office to the Clerk of the Council on December 7, 2016 after Gary Alexander Norton, Jr. was recalled. He repeated the same oath offense on January 1, 2018.
On October 19, 2017, Moore operating under his D Moore Enterprises LLC received his first big check for $39,500 from partners in crime King and Leach to demolish 1277 Hayden Avenue. It was a single family home once owned by a local female pastor that could easily have been brought “up to code” with the same money and resold at cost to a large family.
Four months after King was sworn in on January 1, 2018 as East Cleveland’s mayor, after winning the November 2017 general election with the help of campaign donations Moore had given him, Rokakis, a Greek American, on April 26, 2018 entered a Notice of Appearance for the “USA.” There was a “random reassignment” of magistrates on April 27, 2018 and an order was issued the same day assigning the case to Magistrate Judge George J. Limbert. He retires in 2022.
On May 2, 2018, a Notice of Garnishment was sent to East Cleveland asking for the money “Darryl Moore” was owed in his “individual” name. OPERS was also noticed as it appears to support suspicions that Moore is being falsely represented to the state pension board as an employee and not a contractor.
Gowdy told EJBNEWS she plans to investigate how many contractors and friends of King’s are being carried as employees under East Cleveland’s OPERS account. Hemmons is not an employee but an independent contractor operating under an expired contract with no oath of office.
The federal docket does not reflect the event that “triggered” Herdman to send Alex Rokakis after East Cleveland to collect on the $2.8 million in restitution Moore owed the United States government. It only reflects that from the time of his release from prison until May 2, 2018, he had only paid $3400 in restitution.
Private attorney Hemmons, responded in a June 8, 2018 motion that the federal court should amend its record to identify “3D Moore” and not “Darryl Moore” as the garnishee. Court documents show Rokakis validated the 3D Moore claim with Ohio’s Secretary of State and Cuyahoga County; and wrote the amendment approved by federal Judge John R. Adams. There is no information in the federal docket that Rokakis ever shared Moore’s excluded status with Judge Adams; or that he and Herdman sought to formalize the exclusions with HUD after his “mortgage fraud” conviction.
Moore’s name would be on HUD’s exclusion list but for Herdman and Rokakis’ seeming conspiratorial negligence. Had they alerted HUD officials that a mortgage fraud felon was submitting invoices to obtain no-bid CDBG dollars it would have prevented Herdman and Rokakis from collecting Moore’s restitution.
Alex Rokakis’ garnishment notices were also forwarded to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS). It was an act which strongly-implied that King was creating a pension for Moore as a “contractor” that was being paid by East Cleveland taxpayers.
If OPERS is involved its officials were delivered fraudulent documents that falsely-identified “Moore” as an employee. Rokakis seemed unconcerned that pension contributions to contractors criminally violated Section 145.038 of the Revised Code of Ohio.
Acknowledgement of independent contractor status. (A) A public employer who on or after January 7, 2013, begins to receive personal services from an individual it classifies as an independent contractor or another classification other than public employee shall inform the individual of the classification and that no contributions will be made to the public employees retirement system for the services.
In the documents he submitted to the federal court presided over by Judge John R. Adams, assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rokakis appears to have had no curiosity about the source of funds the city was delivering to the ex-offender who was in real time committing violations of federal HUD procurement laws. Neither did Judge Adams.
Herdman and Rokakis also seemed unconcerned that Moore was operating a so-called demolition company with no equipment and no prior experience out of his beauty shop’s basement on Noble Road. Moore did not even possess a Commercial Drivers License. [NOTE: One of Alex Rokakis’ cousins was seen in East Cleveland doing a walk-through of a home his company was given an award to demolish from the county landbank his brother, James Rokakis, once led before resigning in disgrace.]
What appears to have been Herdman’s only concern in the documents Rokakis created and presented to Judge Adams was the collection of the $2.8 million Moore owed. It also did not appear to matter that the money Moore was collecting was being stolen from HUD. [NOTE: Judge Adams was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation after allegations of misconduct were filed against him with the Judicial Council of the Sixth Circuit. The mental health evaluation and charges were dropped against the federal judge on June 27, 2019.]
Annually U.S. Attorneys are required to give “Annual Statistical Reports” that identify action on restitution collections. Herdman appeared to be interested only in building up his numbers as Trump was considering the Jones Day partner to lead the U.S. Attorneys office in Washington, D.C. His nomination never made it out of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
Jones Day recently closed its Moscow office and relocated the Russian who led it, Vladmir Lechtman, to Washington, D.C. The firm has represented the Russian Federation as unregistered foreign agents Herdman did not investigate for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Alex Rokakis’ documented mission focused only on getting a plan worked out with East Cleveland to deliver the “garnished” portion of the federal goverment’s HUD CDBG dollars the excluded felon was obtaining in violation of federal laws from King, Hemmons, Leach and Iyahen in no bid contracts.
The workout plan included King and private attorney Willa Hemmons, who has no contract, no oath of office nor the residency qualifications under Ohio laws to discharge the duties of a municipal director of law, agreeing to send the proceeds of Moore’s “no bid” HUD-funded demolition contracts to the U.S. District Court. Hemmons is a resident of Shaker Heights.
Herdman and Alex Rokakis’ completely ignored their “Misprision of felony” duties pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 4 to prevent the theft of HUD CDBG funds from “excluded” individuals and contractors as the Secretary of HUD’s prosecutors. Each ignored, as well, Disciplinary Rule 1.13 in the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers in Ohio instead of misleading the USDOJ’s employees into a conspiracy to aid Moore in the commission of his crimes against HUD just to collect restitution payments. Neither appear to have cared where the money came from as long as they got it.
Herdman, Rokakis and Hemmons all appear to have violated DR 1.13(a) and (b).
(a) A lawyer employed or retained by an organization represents the organization acting through its constituents. A lawyer employed or retained by an organization owes allegiance to the organization and not to any constituent or other person connected with the organization. The constituents of an organization include its owners and its duly authorized officers, directors, trustees, and employees.
(b) If a lawyer for an organization knows or reasonably should know that its constituent’s action, intended action, or refusal to act (1) violates a legal obligation to the organization, or (2) is a violation of law that reasonably might be imputed to the organization and that is likely to result in substantial injury to the organization, then the lawyer shall proceed as is necessary in the best interest of the organization. When it is necessary to enable the organization to address the matter in a timely and appropriate manner, the lawyer shall refer the matter to higher authority, including, if warranted by the circumstances, the highest authority that can act on behalf of the organization under applicable law.
Rokakis is the younger brother of former Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization creator James Rokakis who aided George Michael Riley and Christine Beynon in creating the pile-up of 1000 demolished landbank properties at 1740 Noble Road behind residential homes in East Cleveland. James Rokakis has long been suspected of being protected by his assistant U.S. Attorney brother.
Alex Rokakis appears to have a conflicted relationship with his East Cleveland involvement since the agency his brother led aided Riley in committing environmental crimes against the city’s residents that weakened immune systems, caused cancer and may have resulted in several deaths. Barbara Garner, a non-smoker, died of lung cancer in 2016. Her son believes the 5-story pile of death behind their Noble Road home was the cause.
No one has been criminally-prosecuted for the illegal, deadly and immune weakening “construction and demolition debris landfill” James Rokakis supported between Collinwood High School and Apex Charter School near the Helen S. Brown senior citizen high-rise and Crystal Towers. What Alex Rokakis wanted was a workout plan and a garnishment.
After Ward 2 residents elected Juanita Gowdy to the city council in November 2018, and she was administered an oath of office on January 1, 2020, she immediately began asking for and was obstructed by King, Hemmons and attorney Heather McCollough from receiving all the information she requested about Moore’s contracts and Hemmons’ oath and contract. McCollough notarized recall petitions against Gowdy that identified Kelly Bright as the circulator that she claimed were delivered to her by Che Gadison. Gowdy defeated Gadison in 2019.
Gowdy, and citizen activists, who were asking the USDOJ under Herdman for help, had no idea federal prosecutors were aiding Moore in his theft of federal funds by ignoring their duties to keep him “excluded” and HUD protected. Gowdy confirmed during her first year in office that U.S. District Court Judge James Gwin’s revelations that Hemmons was not representing the city were also confirmed.
Section 705.28 of the Revised Code of Ohio required every employee and officer of the municipal corporation to be administered an oath of office before they began discharging the duties of the public offices to which they were appointed. The oaths were required to be filed with the Clerk of Council. Gowdy confirmed that none of the city’s official’s oaths were filed with the council clerk.
Hemmons supplied an “affidavit” instead of an oath though it was her duty pursuant to Section 733.57 of the Revised Code of Ohio and her contract to ensure the city’s officers and contractors were discharging their official duties.
When an obligation or contract made on behalf of a municipal corporation, granting a right or easement or creating a public duty, is being evaded or violated, the village solicitor or city director of law shall apply for the forfeiture or the specific performance thereof as the nature of the case requires.
Since he’s been freed from prison, Moore’s 3D Moore has had almost exclusive access to demolition awards coming from the community development department under King’s oversight and his former partner Leach’s management. King and Leach are now trying to give him an $80,000 contract to “patch” a parking lot at city hall.
Like the other awards of federal funds to the mayor’s friends, Leach can’t prove to council that he obeyed HUD’s procurement laws as he seeks to have contracts given to Moore totaling $160,000. When recently asked if the bids were advertised, Leach supplied an email claiming that he asked the Plain Dealer to place the bid notice without producing an actual copy of to prove that it had been published.
Once the documents I’ve shared in this story reaches council’s hands, King, Hemmons, Leach and Charles Iyahen are going to have some additional explaining to do. So should Herdman and Rokakis to the appropriate federal oversight authorities for their unreported complicitness in Moore’s theft of CDBG funds HUD sent to direct entitlement East Cleveland.