Naymik’s racist Plain Dealer reporting angers African American politicians

Mayor Frank Jackson’s top aide, Valarie McCall, said city hall is demanding a retraction from Plain Dealer blogger Mary Naymik for the lies he wrote about the mayor operating city hall under a greatly diminished work schedule.

CLEVELAND, OH – “Enough is enough” is the clear message coming from Mayor Frank Jackson’s office.  Jackson’s top administrator, Valarie McCall, told EJBNEWS the mayor wants the Plain Dealer and to retract the Mark Naymik lie that he isn’t showing up for work because he’s caring for his wife.

McCall said Jackson is at work daily and Naymik’s report that he isn’t is false.  It’s especially false, she said, since Naymik and other journalists have been given Jackson’s schedule. 

McCall said Naymik and three other reporters from local media outlets wanted to keep tabs on the mayor, so they decided to upload his schedule to the city’s website every month.  Naymik now has no excuse to lie about Jackson, but it’s a move that also pissed him off because it took away his “exclusivity.”

After not getting what he wanted the way he wanted from McCall, Naymik then wrote a story headlined, “Mayor Frank Jackson’s head in the sand approach to public relations is bad for the city.” 

The basis of Naymik’s complaint was that calls for answers to his questions about Jackson’s schedule weren’t returned.  Naymik then added his “completely fabricated doubts” to his blog about why Jackson and McCall decided to upload his monthly schedule.

“I also questioned City Hall’s motive. The timing of the announcement struck me as a subtle attempt to counter reports that Jackson has been absent from City Hall beginning in spring 2018 to care for his ailing wife. His time in the office was curtailed. To this day, the city has refused to acknowledge this publicly. The mayor has since returned to a more normal schedule.

I asked the press office earlier this month to comment on my doubts. (It didn’t.) And I asked for copies of the records requests from all the people who have sought the mayor’s calendar from Oct. 1, 2018, to March 1, 2019.

You’d think McCall would have the records handy since her office just declared in a statement that the demand for the calendars prompted a policy change. As of Wednesday, I had not received them. So, I complained in an email to McCall about the delay and said I planned to write about it. The city then sent me the information without comment.”

The Naymik words above display the editorial style he uses to intimidate African American elected officials to submit to his demands for public data and answers to questions.  Naymik has no political experience and his writing shows he has never read or mastered Cleveland’s charter, ordinances, administrative code, or any Ohio law that controls how municipal officials perform the duties of managing municipal corporations.  He operates as if his “conjectures” are facts and then seeks to prove his conjectures.

Ward 4 Councilman Kenneth Johnson, like Mayor Frank Jackson, has been a near exclusive editorial target of Mark Naymik. The blogger’s attacks on African American politicians appear to some to be racially-motivated since the same writer asked the FBI not to investigate county executive Armond Budish and almost never criticizes white elected officials.

Mature and experienced elected officials have discussed the “conjecturing” blogger’s mindset and questioned why the newspaper and website’s owners allow him to think such fact “less” writing is “journalism.

When municipal officials who understand the legal duties of the public office respond within the confines of the law, Naymik threatens “to write about it” like he did with McCall if he doesn’t get a written or verbal response to his “imaginings.” 

The legal course of action for public records non-compliance is to file a mandamus action with a court.  Naymik prefers threats of editorial embarassment rather than the truth of a real legal action to see if his requests for “thoughts” fall within the legal definitions of the state’s revised code for the release of “public records.”

Jackson isn’t the only city official who’s tired of Naymik’s editorial intimidation.  Ward 4 Councilman Kenneth Johnson has been the focus of 14 stories Naymik wrote about his $1200 monthly expense account.  Johnson uses the money to buy gas for lawn mowers and snow blowers to cut grass and remove snow from the yards and sidewalks of his older homeowners. 

Naymik didn’t write a single story about convicted ex-councilman Joseph Cimperman using block grant money to buy the love of his fiance`.  When Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish’s office was raided by FBI agents Naymik wrote that he shouldn’t be investigated.  In Naymik’s mind only African American elected officials like Jackson, Johnson, Joe Jones, TJ Dow and others are criminals.

Rev. Jesse Jackson visited the Plain Dealer’s newsroom last year to meet with the editorial board and was shocked to see the white supremacist news organization Chris Quinn built. Jackson told the National Association of Black Journalists he saw none on the Plain Dealer’s edtiorial staff.

Naymik and his employers have recently been drawing considerable negative attention to themselves from Cleveland’s majority black resident population.  The blogger’s critics say he mainly targets African American politicians.  An examination of the stories he’s written confirms their claims.  

A city hall observer said Naymik is creating controversies that didn’t exist for African American politicians until he manufactured them; while there are white elected officials who are actually engaged in committing offenses like Budish, Cimperman and others he ignores. 

Naymik didn’t write about ex-county executive Ed Fitzgerald not showing up to work in 4 years while he campaigned for governor on county time.  Fitzgerald was interviewed about his campaign in the county’s administration by a WEWS-TV5 reporter in violation of the Hatch Act.  Not a word about it from Naymik or the Plain Dealer though it was shared with and known by the newspaper’s bloggers.

The Plain Dealer had no curiosity about the out-of-county and state officials Fitzgerald hired and the county council appointed who voters of Cuyahoga county would never have elected. 

Naymik didn’t keyboard a single word about fiscal officer Wade Steen commuting from Cuyahoga to Franklin county where he lived in a half million Upper Arlington home.  Recorder Richard Sensenbrenner was from Columbus and  had led that city’s council as president.  Thomas Gilson was a Connecticut physician who hadn’t been licensed for over 19 years in Ohio when the state’s laws required coroners or medical examiners to be minimally-licensed for two years locally prior to serving in the offie.

For every story Mark Naymik conjectures about a black elected official Scene blogger Sam Allard repeats it without individual examination. During Cleveland’s 2017 campaign for mayor the Scene reporter was assigned to cover debates. In one debate Allard recorded the candidates and then inserted words into quotes he attributed to one candidate that he admitted were completely fabricated. Not a single word or quote was true and Allard admitted he couldn’t prove it. His quotes were retracted, but Allard continues to blog and lie for Cleveland Scene about the city’s elected officials and events.

Not one word has Naymik written about ex-pimp and judge Harry Jacobs being released from prison and getting his law license back.  Naymik, however, jumped all over Jackson for hiring ex-judge Lance Mason upon his prison release.  Political observers were stunned at the blogger’s editorial request for the FBI not to investigate Budish.

EJBNEWS has reached out to Naymik in the past for comments about his writing style and bigotry, but he’s afraid to respond to questions about his racial bigotry.  This writer gave Naymik’s editor a story she assigned him to write for the defunct Free Times that resulted in his being hired by the Plain Dealer.  It was the best “fact based” story of his career and one Naymik has never been able to repeat in 20 years.

EJBNEWS, however, did hear a message Naymik left Johnson where the whiney blogger begged him to return his calls.  Johnson told EJBNEWS he sees Naymik as a waste of time and simply will not talk to him.

In his voicemail message to Johnson, Naymik pleads with the veteran councilman and asks why he won’t return his calls.  Johnson told EJBNEWS the answer is obvious.

“He’s going to write what he wants and it doesn’t matter if it’s true.”

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.