CLEVELAND, OH – When I was entering East Cleveland’s mayor’s office to enforce federal, state and local laws in 2006 as the city’s chief law enforcement officer, my Chicago born and raised opponent for Congress in the 11th Congressional District, James Terrelle Hemphill, was headed to federal prison for 70 months. Hemphill had been caught with a new batch of the crack cocaine he’d been selling between Chicago and Cedar Rapids, Iowa as a member of the narcotic drug underworld since the 1990’s. Hemphill told the Cleveland Jewish News he also made trips to Cleveland in the 1990’s when he worked as a Time Warner employee.
There are two federal drug cases in 2006-2007 that involve Hemphill. Case No. 1:06-cr-00592-1 prosecuted by the United States attorney in the Northern District of Illinois out of Chicago. Case No. 1:00-cr-00029-LSS-JSS prosecuted out of the Northern District of Iowa. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa case came with three counts of possessing crack cocaine with the intent to distribute or sell it. The Chicago case identified the federal offense of possessing crack cocaine. Hemphill was prosecuted in Iowa by U.S. Attorney and retired U.S. Army Major General Patrick Reinhart.
The ex-career criminal was released from federal prison sometime in 2011-2012 and fled to Cleveland instead of returning to Chicago or Iowa to face or “give back” to the people whose lives he helped ruin. Sometime before his federal prison sentence, Hemphill told Plain Dealer editorial pages director Elizabeth Sullivan, Thomas Suddes, Sabrina Eaton and Leila Atassi he became “a legal citizen.” Hemphill was not asked what country his parents were from during the newspaper’s April 13, 2022 endorsement interview. His use of the term “legal citizen” was not explained. He speaks with an accent I can’t pinpoint.
In Cleveland Hemphill was 7 hours away from the people of Chicago and Iowa who knew his drug underworld activities. Here he could remake himself into an “entreprenuer” who “remodels homes.” In Cleveland Hemphill could talk about “giving back” to a community that didn’t know him. He could shield his criminal underworld past from unsuspecting Clevelanders who had to accept him at face value.
He told Sullivan and her Plain Dealer colleagues during an online endorsement interview that being a former member of the drug underworld gave him the skills to relate to the “community.” The vast majority of 11th Congressional District residents are not former members of the drug underworld and Hemphill’s only selling point from what I’ve seen has been to falsely claim that I am not a Republican. It’s the only reason I decided to research him and share what I learned about him.
I am a dues paid up current member of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party’s “executive committee.” It is the second time I have held executive committee member since 2003. I was an executive committee member once with the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party. On the candidate petitions that bear my signature I declared myself to be a Republican. On April 15, 2022 I voted for my “Republican” self around 10 minutes to 1700 hours when I pulled a Republican ballot.
Hemphill didn’t know the names of the late county chairman Robert Hughes and or state chairman Robert Bennett. He didn’t know Virgil Brown, Sr., J. Kenneth Blackwell, Governors Bob Taft and James Rhodes or Akron attorney and White Hat Management founder David Brennan. He said they were just names to him.
The first time Hemphill voted in the 11th Congressional District was November 2012 after his release from federal prison and his relocation to Cleveland. Records on file with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections show Hemphill voted 6 times in “general elections” since 2012. The first time he voted in a “primary” election – where he pulled a Republican ballot – was on August 3, 2021 or 9 months ago.
Sullivan’s editorial crew at the Plain Dealer did not have the curiosity to validate just what made Hemphill a Republican other than pulling a GOP ballot for the first time last year since 2012. Hemphill’s voting record since 2012 has been as an “Independent” until last August 2021. Voting for Trump in November 2020 did not make this “genius” a Republican. My congressional campaign opponent had not been known for helping American candidates who were members of the Republican Party.
When the Chicago native’s name first surfaced as a possible candidate in the 11th Congressional District’s Republican primary, long time party members and officials in my circle of contacts did not know him. Hemphill’s only political claim to fame was that he voted for President Donald James Trump in November 2020. So did I over Joseph Robinette Biden and “fake black” Kamaladevi Harris. I was told by suspicious Republicans that he was a “plant.” An infiltrator. A source claimed he had a brother in the Nina Turner campaign. Hemphill sent me an email that he didn’t when I asked party leadership in writing for him to disclose.
The ex-crack narcotic dealer and possessor describes himself as a “conservative” but hasn’t identified any issue that makes him conservative. In conservative nations like China, drug underworld characters are executed by firing squads. They don’t get to flee from one city to the next with a modified identity and a deceptive new cover story that obscures facts about his past during a federal election for Congress.
When asked by Sullivan and crew how to improve relations between the American Negro community and police with 640 hours of traning he answered “community policing.” I’m a former mayor, mayor’s chief of staff, mayor’s special assistant, police beat reporter; and I organized Guardian Angel safety patrols in Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown to get citizens involved in deterring crime. I’m also a former safety director. I’ve hired, fired, disciplined, promoted and prosecuted cops. I’ve negotiated, signed and managed their collective bargaining agreements. Hemphill’s answer from my perspective sounded curve graded uninformed; and that was his best moment. He told the Cleveland Jewish News his criminal underworld knowledge gave him a unique economic perspective to create economic opportunities in impoverished neighborhoods.
Records on file with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections and the Ohio Secretary of State show two different addresses for Hemphill, 46, and a 37-year-old woman. Business records he submitted to the Ohio Secretary of State list a residential address of 3126 W 101st Street on the second floor. That’s the address the state of Ohio Department of Taxation used to reach him four times between 2013 and 2020 for judgement liens and garnishments.
Hemphill filed for bankruptcy last June 2021 from the W. 101st Street address right before voting for the 5th time in August from 3388 Berkeley Road in Cleveland Heights. On records he submitted to Ohio’s Secretary of State, the Cleveland Heights address is identified as a “mailing address.” The Cleveland Heights home show it being transferred through a “warranty deed” last month to the woman whose name is associated with his at the east and west side addresses on records. Throughout his use of the Cleveland Heights address to vote from since 2012, Cuyahoga County property records show it flipping back and forth and quit-claimed between various “LLC’s.”
I did not know anything about Hemphill before my name crossed his lips. He admitted to the Plain Dealer’s editorial board that he did not know me. The first time we said hello to each other was during the online endorsement meeting on April 13, 2022. Judging from his lies about me, and his refusal to stop spreading them, Hemphill ain’t too bright.