Basheer "Sellout" Jones needs a job. So he's injected "race" into the 2021 campaign to replace Mayor Frank Jackson. He's doing the bidding of the plantation boss who kept his mouth shut about Jones living in South Euclid and Cleveland Heights while serving illegally on Cleveland city council. He owes Kelley a big favor for his complicit silence. Standing next to Kelley holding a sign is his campaign manager and Oakwood Village resident Joseph Fouche.

Cleveland council members can’t pass last minute grant contracts before they leave office like Kevin Kelley’s trying to do with his $12 million Shaker Square give-away

Kelley and his minion-like fellow schemers want council to ignore the charter's instructions that grants and special privileges cannot be enacted as an emergency

CLEVELAND, OH – Kevin Kelley’s on his way out the door with Basheer Jones, Anthony Brancatelli and Marion Anita Gardner.  Before he leaves council Kelley’s trying to pass last minute contracts that won’t go into full operation for the term he’s elected with 28 days left in office as of this date.  Among the contracts Kelley wants council to pass is one to Neighborhood Progress Inc. and Burten Bell Carr to purchase a parcel of Shaker Square properties for $12 million.

The full cost of the 3-phase project is $37 million.  The two non-profit agencies whose records are not public, and whose boards meet in secret, want access to a piece of Cleveland’s $511 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars.  Just the non-public nature of their meetings and records makes both non-profits ineligible to receive a dime in federal funds under Ohio laws; but Kelley doesn’t want the discussion.  He wants yet another emergency ordinance to give away the city’s money without public accountability.

WKYC reporters interview non-profit directors about eating and restaurants instead of asking why they are violating federal and state open records and open meetings laws while spending federal funds. Neighborhood Progress Inc’s director, Tania Menesse, can post a video of her and Burten Bell Carr director Joy Johnson’s WKYC interview. Neither posts notices and agendas of their board’s meetings, copies of resolutions, copies of bids for contracts and copies of the resolutions awarding the contracts. The public can’t see the minutes of their meetings and a reporter asks them about restaurants.  These acts are unlawful and neither of the non-profits that employs them are authorized to receive the federal funds Kevin Kelley wants to give them to spend.  WKYC and the Russian Federation are both represented by the same Squire, Patton & Boggs law firm.  It’s always been about “treats and eats” with WKYC instead of real and relevant news.  It’s as if they hire the shallowest and most diminuitive-minded so-called journalists.

Section 731.48 of the Ohio Revised Code is so simple even Kelley, a licensed attorney, can understand its plain English words.  The heading is “contract restrictions.”  It’s a general law of the State of Ohio that’s been in effect since October 1, 1953.

The legislative authority of a municipal corporation shall not enter into any contract which is not to go into full operation during the term for which all the members of such legislative authority are elected.”

Now, of course, the $12 million grant contract to Neighborhood Progress Inc. and Burten Bell Carr won’t go into full operation 28 days before Kelley leaves office.  It takes 30 days for a non-emergency ordinance to go into effect.   Since council will include four new members after January 1, 2022, grant contracts can’t be passed 28 days prior to their arrival on the legislative authority.

There’s also a charter prohibition on passing grants and special privileges as an “emergency” ordinance like Kelley wants.  It’s found in Section 36 under the heading “Emergency measures.”

“All ordinances and resolutions shall be in effect from and after thirty (30) days from the date of their passage by the Council except as otherwise provided in this Charter. The Council may by a two-thirds vote of the members elected to the Council, pass emergency measures to take effect at the time indicated in the emergency measure. An emergency measure is an ordinance or resolution for the immediate preservation of the public peace, property, health, or safety, or providing for the usual daily operation of a Municipal department, in which the emergency is set forth and defined in a preamble. Ordinances appropriating money may be passed as emergency measures, but no measure making a grant, renewal or extension of a franchise or other special privilege, or regulating the rate to be charged for its services by any public utility, shall ever be so passed.  (Effective November 4, 2008)”

Kelley’s gone in 28 days and Mayor Frank Jackson’s following.  Come January 3, 2022 Cleveland will have a new mayor and council who should by law be making grant contract decisions that will be in full operation during their four years in office together.  On his way out the door Kelley’s showing his continued propensity for criminal misconduct in elected office that Cleveland voters should take note of in case he has any ideas of seeking another elected office.

Ward 4’s interim Councilwoman, Marion Anita Gardner, is a Mount Pleasant activist. She told EJBNEWS she didn’t join council to perpetuate the wrong she saw from the outside, so she wants the $12 million last minute give-away Kevin Kelley wants for Neighborhood Progress Inc and Burten Bell Carr tabled. Councilwoman Gardner said she received no “statutory” information from NPI and BBC’s directors about their determination to pay $12 million for a property valued at $5.6 million; and another $25 million to bring the property up to code and develop it. Gardner doesn’t like either non-profit’s secret and non-public meetings. She doesn’t like the lack of access to public records. She doesn’t like Kelley’s last minute law violating moves.

Ward 4 Councilwoman Gardner wants the $12 million Shaker Square legislation tabled.  With 28 days left in office Gardner told EJBNEWS she’s not casting last minute grant contract votes.

Neither 731.48 of Ohio’s Revised Code nor Section 36 of Cleveland’s charter have been repealed by either the general assembly or the people.  So both laws stand as written as instructions to Kelley and every member of council to obey.  Pursuant to Section 733.34 of the Ohio Revised Code it’s Jackson’s duty as mayor to “supervise the conduct” of the “officers” of the “municipal corporation.”

Even if Council passes ordinances awarding last minute grant contracts, Jackson has to ensure that both R.C. 731.48 and Section 36 of the Charter are enforced if he’s to avoid charges of dereliction of duty for not discharging the oath sworn duties of a mayor as the chief law enforcement officer.

“The mayor shall supervise the conduct of all the officers of the municipal corporation, inquire into and examine the grounds of all reasonable complaints against any of such officers, and cause their violations or neglect of duty to be promptly punished or reported to the proper authority for correction.”

Government is “by the numbers.”  We have well-articulated general laws in Ohio that are written in plain and unambiguous English that need no interpretation.  They simply are required to be obeyed as written.

In its Code of Regulations the board of trustees of Burten Bell Carr don’t even pretend they’re ever going to comply with state law requirements declaring their meetings and records open to the public. There’s not even a requirement that their business be approved through a resolution, Before any Community Housing Development Corporation or CDC gets a dime in federal funds the Director of Community Development is required to validate and monitor that the non-profit’s operationally structured to obey federal and state laws.

One of the first discussions Council and council-president nominee Blaine Griffin should have with council as its new president next year is on “reading” and “obeying” constitutions and laws.  Council, especially its newest members, must read the body’s “rules” and so should the public or activists who intend to keep them accountable.

I can tell from their performance that Jenny Spencer and Charles Slife have not read council’s rules or made themselves proficient in knowing the city’s charter, ordinances and the state’s general laws for municipal corporations found in Title 7.  They should not perpetuate Kelley’s criminal ignorance.  This curve graded, non-reading bullshit among government officials is ignorant and offensive.  People who don’t read should not seek elected offices that require intensive levels of reading.

If you do not read you cannot lead.

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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