CLEVELAND, OH – In a letter dated July 2, 2021 troubled attorney Heather McCollough advised attorney Willa Hemmons that she was “retiring” effective July 2, 2021. McCullough wrote that she’d like to wait and return to the administration within two months; and hoped the city of East Cleveland had benefitted from her presence in her request to work as a “double dipper.”
At the bottom of McCollough’s letter below her signature were the words “Attorney for Defendant City of East Cleveland.” McCollough hadn’t bothered to remove the words that gave her correspondence the appearance of being the signatory page on a pleading document.
McCollough’s resignation-through-retirement letter to Hemmons was not addressed to her appointing authority, Mayor Brandon King, or to Belinda Kyle he’s assigned to serve as director of human resources. McCullough didn’t give her employer two weeks notice or reference any of the outstanding legal cases she’s handling; and those she created in the city’s name against Chasing Justice executive director Mariah Crenshaw without the approval of the council. At 55 McCollough told Hemmons she was retiring.
Under Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) laws enacted by the General Assembly of Ohio, McCollough can retire to a reduced public pension with 25 years of service at the age of 55. She can get her full pension with 32 years of service at 55. She’s got nowhere near that time in East Cleveland.
McCollough’s July 2 retirement announcement comes roughly four weeks after Council Vice President Juanita Gowdy asked the now former prosecuting attorney for records associated with known arrests involving defendants who were never charged and brought before Judge William Dawson for adjudication. EJBNEWS revealed how Cleveland councilman Basheer Jones was arrested on gun charges on April 19, 2019 and that he never entered a plea in East Cleveland’s municipal court.
Gowdy wrote a May 27, 2021 email to McCollough demanding public records that compared police arrests to charges and court adjudications. Hemmons sought to cover for McCollough with a baseless legal opinion that a member of council exercising investigative authority fell under Ohio’s public records law for requesting information. She also threw Dawson under the bus with the claim that the records Gowdy wanted from McCollough were in his possession.
Law does not keep any plea sheets of ‘plea arrangements.’ They are completed in the East Cleveland Municipal Court and placed in the East Cleveland Municipal Court file upon completion. A charge, however generated, is not a “charge” until it is officially filed in the East Cleveland Municipal Court.
Dawson clapped back with a briefly-worded response that he wasn’t the one.
“The request is “ I need records of all charges for offenses misdemeanors and felonies that have been generated by the prosecutors office from April 1, 2019 until April 1, 2021. “The prosecutor’s office originates all complaints and filings and as such, the prosecutor’s office should have all the documents that are being requested. Though the court has its roll [sic], we are not the record keeper for the prosecutor’s office.”
The drama over arrests that have not been charged by the prosecutor’s office and adjudicated in the courts is just one of the additional burdens McCollough is facing. She’s responding to a complaint filed with the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association against her and Hemmons that seeks the suspension of McCollough’s law license; and the evidence against her is overwhelming.
The troubled attorney filed a “defamation” claim against Chasing Justice’s Crenshaw in the city’s name in civil court in defense of police the activist has proven were not operating with valid Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) credentials. McCollough’s lunatic and legally unsupported claim is that Crenshaw’s criticism of her and individuals impersonating law enforcement officers defames East Cleveland. Her defamation claim was filed to harass Crenshaw and was not authorized by the city council.
In 2020 McCollough notarized an affidavit attached to a set of recall petitions filed by defeated ex-councilwoman Che Gadison with the clerk of council and elections board. The affidavit McCollough notarized claims that she witnessed Gadison sign her own name when it was the name of “Kelly Bright” the criminally-minded ex-politician used.
Gadison’s name is not Kelly Bright and she couldn’t produce Kelly Bright as a witness during a hearing before the Board of Elections that resulted in her petitions being rejected. Instead of aiding Gadison in the commission of “election fraud” McCollough should have filed criminal charges against her.
McCollough has also been accused of perjury for claiming that she has not published any information on Facebook about an ongoing criminal prosecution. McCollough’s Facebook page is full of content she’s created and published that seeks to explain her views on a homicide investigation that involves the late Steven Swain and a juvenile Larry McDonald and Kenneth DiSalvo aka Lundy kidnapped off Euclid Avenue at gunpoint.
McCollough knows Lundy admitted that Judge Dawson is bypassed by police who overlook the need to obtain warrants for searches and certain types of arrests based on testimony the sex-abusing cop impersonator offered during hearings. Instead of protecting the interests of the residents of East Cleveland, McCollough has been protecting cop impersonators like McDonald as if they were her “personal” clients.