Cleveland Clinic and UH’s greed helped killed the 47 hospitals and 7000 beds thinking leaders started building in 1837 to deal with future pandemics

Politicians with no respect for Cleveland's past recklessly allowed hospitals to close and be demolished with no consideration for why so many beds were needed

CLEVELAND, OH – The Cleveland City Directory of 1974 identifies 47 hospitals in the nation’s 8th largest city that year.  Within and around Cleveland’s direct municipal borders were 7000 hospital beds that had been built into our health care infrastructure since City Hospital was constructed in 1837 after the cholera pandemic.  This story’s feature image is of the newly-constructed free Cleveland hospital 184 years ago.

As Cleveland experienced more pandemics the city’s enlightened political and health care leaders pushed for and enacted laws that provided funding to increase hospital bed capacity and expand free care.  By 1937 Cleveland’s City Hospital was the 6th largest medical facility in the United States of America; and the accomplishment was achieved under the mayor and council’s control.

By 1937 Cleveland’s City Hospital was free to residents and the nation’s 6th largest health care system. Metrohealth does not well serve Cleveland now that it’s run by the county.

The cost of health care was legislatively built into residency through a tiny property tax.  $1 per year for every $1000 in a property’s value.

Wages were limited by council’s salary ordinance for physicians and administrative support staff.  Medications were purchased through the purchasing department and so was medical equipment and supplies.  City physicians or nurses made house calls.  No unions.  The City Record from the 1940’s and 50’s is reflective of the topics above.

Municipal workers who resided in Cleveland were covered.  There was and remains, under the laws of our state, no need for Obamacare, Medicare for all or universal health care.   The mafia-controlled medical health care insurance industry was nothing Americans needed.  If Cleveland officials and its federal representatives had wanted it from 1837 until 1983 they would have enacted laws to authorize private health care insurance regulations instead of providing it to Americans for “almost” free.

Instead of businesses paying health care costs; owners hiring Cleveland residents didn’t worry about health care as an expense.  Value was added to Cleveland residency for the employers who hired the city’s residents.

City, state and federal officials from Ohio – like former Cleveland Mayors Harold Hitz Burton and Frank Lausche – took their health care concerns to higher offices.  Burton sponsored the Hill-Burton Act of 1946 to provide funds for free hospitals while a member of the United States Senate.

The 1974 Cleveland City Directory of businesses and institutions paints a far different picture of the city than the one that exists today. 1958 marks the pivotal year for the degradation of health care in Cleveland when the Democrats leading council voted to let the county manage the free city hospital.  They made Clevelanders last inste

Lausche as governor signed Section 749.01 of the Ohio Revised Code on October 1, 1953 and codified low costs into municipal health care.  With aid from the Hill-Burton Act hospitals built with the federal money would be free to the needy in perpetuity.  4200 hospitals were built with the money across the nation.  Every single Hill-Burton Act funded hospital in Ohio is either closed or demolished in a state where free health care is codified.  There are only 127 left across our nation as a demonstration of organized crime’s complete control of our access to the kind of high quality and affordable health care our laws intended.

Health care administration was supposed to be public, locally-controlled and corruption-resistant until Mayor Anthony Celebreeze Sr. and a Democratic Party-controlled council decided in 1958 that the county commissioners could do a better job managing City Hospital than him as Cleveland’s chief law enforcement officer.  126 years of enlightened and purposeful thinking to build a superior free municipal health care system to cover future pandemics was destroyed by the historically and culturally ignorant.

The 1950’s were the first years of Democratic council majorities; and with them came the infiltration of the local ethnic mafias and organized crime into the “business” of city hall.  Elected officials without in depth knowledge of the city’s government don’t appreciate the wisdom that comes from making a deeply-studied decision.

By 1983 Democrat Richard Frank Celeste replaced Republican Governor James Rhodes as Ohio’s chief administrative law enforcement officer.  There is no doubt he and Youngstown State Senator Harry Meshel encouraged and opened up the organized criminal element in Ohio government by giving the “pension fund building” organized labor union bosses the collective bargaining laws they wanted.

Labor unions were authorized to negotiate working conditions and not wages and benefits until 1983 and a Democratic-controlled Ohio General Assembly.  Celeste set Ohio up to be raped by the public employee unions whose bosses were pushing for private health care insurance the unions were investing in, higher wages, no residency and protections for the criminals and civil rights violators among them.  The public employee unions afterwards used member dues to endorse candidates willing to give them the laws that would eventually lead to six figure taxpayer paid pensions for public workers.

Embedded within Ohio court cases are battles between failed business partners and associates with little known details about “characteristic changing” societal events.

Links to Ken Seminatore’s complaint against his former law partners are included in the story. Anyone who wants to know how the mob took over health care in Ohio should read it.

Attorney Kenneth Seminatore has been dead (2010) long enough to not be remembered by a current generation of politicians, medical professionals and journalists leading Cleveland’s health care discussions.  Some may know Attorney John Climaco’s name, but they don’t know him as Teamster International President Jackie Presser’s attorney.  He and brother, Michael, also represented actor and singer Sammy Davis Jr.  The Plain Dealer’s former editorial pages director, Brent Larkin, once kept a desk in the law office.

It’s how Blue Cross Blue Shield of Ohio became a Climaco client to the tune of about $80 million in legal fees over 13 years which stands as the single event that brought an organized criminal element into Cleveland and Ohio health care.  Despite not even knowing these people, there’s every reason for today’s decision makers to search for and explore Seminatore v. Climaco, Unpublished Decision (12-7-2000), No. 76658. (Ohio Ct. App. 2000).  Below is just a sample of the information to be learned entering this “blue pill” rabbit hole that he left with an 8th District Court of Appeals opinion written by Judge Michael J. Corrigan.

“In December of 1983, the appellant was invited to a Christmas party hosted by Gerald Austin, a political operative who was closely connected to then governor, Richard Celeste. As the party was to be held in Columbus, Austin suggested that the appellant ride down to the cocktail party with another acquaintance of his, John “Jack” Burry, who was a corporate officer of Medical Mutual Insurance Company.  About halfway to Columbus Burry retained the appellant to provide legal representation on behalf of Medical Mutual — Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Ohio (“BC/BS”).

It would be an understatement to suggest that BC/BS proved to be a very lucrative client for CCLG. During the course of the firm’s representation of BC/BS from sometime in 1984 through early 1997, CCLG grossed approximately $80,000,000 in revenue from BC/BS. In order to accommodate the extensive requirements involved in representing BC/BS on such a large scale, the CCLG firm developed a dedicated legal unit whose express purpose was to service the needs of its star client and, also, leased additional office space in downtown Cleveland away from its headquarters in the Halle Building. The appellant testified at trial that during the majority of the time that BC/BS was a client of CCLG he devoted one hundred percent of his time to working on BC/BS files and to generally attending to the legal needs of BC/BS.”

Behind the scenes were decisions Presser made with about $4 billion in Teamster pension and health care funds.  I know the man who acquired Presser’s records after his death in 1987.  I also worked with Presser’s bodyguard, Anthony Hughes, and met Harold Friedman through him.  Friedman replaced Presser.  Russian Jews who are engaged in criminal activities appear to intentionally affiliate themselves with federal law enforcement agencies.  They snitch for special favors.  American Israeli Public Affairs Committee founder Isaiah Kenen’s snitching was viewed as unreliable by the FBI starting in 1948.

Late Attorney Kenneth Felix Seminatore’s lawsuit against his former Climaco law firm partners offers Clevelanders who want to know how the mafia got its hands into the health care market a compelling look at the players.

In Presser’s case his handler was a fellow Eastern European ethnic named FBI special agent Robert Friedrick.  He was indicted and convicted for lying about a warning he gave Presser in 1986.  Presser died in 1987 and Clevelanders should remember him as the man who replaced Jimmy Hoffa.  I met Friedrick at the Mardi Gras restaurant across from the Plain Dealer on E. 19th Street during my time publishing The Independent in East Cleveland.  I was at a table with AFL-CIO President Richard Acton and his son weeks before the younger Acton’s suicide.

Presser invested $2 billion in health care dollars from the members into Medical Mutual (Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Ohio) and another $2 billion from the pension fund was invested into Bank One when it operated with just four branches.  Seminatore explained how the firm was generating over $2 million a month in legal fees from each entity.  He was a school board member and I was a publisher campaigning for a Cleveland school board seat in 1983.  I received over 17,000 votes that year.  I remember when Seminatore entered law school.

What made the Teamster involvement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Ohio and Medical Mutual a sweet deal was the presence of Forest City Enterprises President Samuel Miller (birth name Minkin) on on both boards.  Cleveland Clinic and Medical Mutual.  Whatever Cleveland Clinic’s board billed Medical Mutual’s board wouldn’t question.  The business practice also affected the cost of medical malpractice insurance as premiums increased.

Private practitioners feeling the pinch of inflated medical malpractice insurance premiums were soon visited by players like South African physician Dr. Michael Nochomovitz.  The big hospitals – Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals – were offering cash to independent physicians for their medical practices; and the bigger dollars went to the physicians who scheduled more surgeries.  Nochomovitz was the buyout front man for University Hospitals.  Although he was of Russian ancestry the alien was born in South Africa and called himself an “African American.”

Everything about the health care model emerging after the facts revealed in Seminatore’s claim against the Climaco brothers reeked of a Russian mob takeover of the local medical industry after Celeste’s 8 years as governor.  Price fixing increased health care costs.  They controlled the insurance industry so raising medical malpractice insurance rates created a shortage of independent practitioners.  Bribes to local elected officials in cities like East Cleveland resulted in buildings like Huron Hospital’s being demolished.

It was an act of malicious, mafia-like corruption for ex-Cleveland Clinic CEO Delos Cosgrove to conspire to close and demolish Huron Hospital with convicted ex-East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton.

There were 204 beds at Huron Hospital before Cleveland Clinic’s ex-Chief Executive Officer, Delos Cosgrove, cut an illegal, mob-like deal with convicted ex-Mayor Gary Alexander Norton, Jr. to close and demolish it in 2011.  Cosgrove and the Cleveland Clinic board paid Independence Excavating $12 million to demolish Huron Hospital while building a 660 bed facility in Saudi Arabia.

Cosgrove delivered East Cleveland’s $8 million to a bank account Norton, Michael Smedley and former director of finance Ronald Brooks transferred funds to and from that council had not authorized or knew existed.  It was a move that wiped out the only gunshot wound trauma center in the area; and the best in the state.  Lives were being saved that are now lost because Clevelanders are dying while traveling the long ride to MetroHealth.  A former hospital president told EJBNEWS the city needs no fewer than five additional emergency rooms.

Today there are five hospitals with 2650 beds located directly inside the city of Cleveland that are supposed to be available to the general population according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  The Louis Stokes Veterans Administration Hospital has an authorized bed count of 660 for military personnel and veterans.

The facts are that Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital’s emergency room doors are not fully open to Cleveland residents.  Cleveland Clinic’s got 6000 beds spread out all over the world instead of 6000 beds in Cleveland and its suburbs; and its continued access to federal funds they’re using to prop up a global enterprise should be challenged by the the 11th Congressional District’s federal representatives; as well as the city’s mayor and council.

The St. Luke’s Hospital that served southeast side residents is an apartment complex for seniors.  The rest of the city’s hospitals – those like Mount Sinai – have been demolished.  Only some Baby Boomers and their parents remember the American Negro-owned Forest City Hospital at St. Clair Avenue and Parkwood.

Dr. Michael Nochomovitz is a Russian alien born in South Africa who immigrated to the US to help University Hospitals buy small medical practices.

Cleveland would not be experiencing a bed count shortage if health care had remained under municipal instead of corporate control.  The farther politicians get away from looking back before they look forward the dumber their decisions.  How stupid is it that Cleveland once had 47 hospitals in 1974 and now has five because of organized crime and dumb azzed politicians going on a closing and demolition spree?  Now what was has to be restored; and the politicians who should be thinking about restoring what was are trying to give away the federal money that would help restore it to developers and non-profits.

Mayor-elect Justin Bibb would do himself well to reject any advice he gets from Dr. Amy Stearns “Quackton” Acton about health care.  She answered “yes” on her Ohio Medical Board application to being treated for mental illness and drug addiction.  Her mother called her a liar about being homeless, living in a park and moving 18 times.  It took her 4 years to earn a one year medical residency.  Stearns-Acton’s residency physicians didn’t sign off for her to treat patients so she taught and worked on grants.  Is this a thing of birds of a feather flocking together?

Mayors in Ohio have no authority to suspend the constitution, charter or any law or ordinance.  If Bibb starts issuing “orders” he thinks will keep people from being hit with cold and flu viruses like the Chinese alien doing her Xi Jinping imitation in Boston as mayor; he’ll be wasting time and adding another criminal charge to the growing list.  What Bibb can do is ask council to join him in studying Section 749.01 of the Ohio Revised Code and using some of the $512 million to build at least five to new “municipal owned” emergency rooms or urgent care centers in Cleveland.  Council can also fund the cost of “mobile clinics” to let people find “medical treatment on the block.

The influence of the Russian mafia on business and government in Cleveland has been sickeningly about destroying the competition.  Less competition and it’s more money for their organized crime families.  It’s a business model that has no place in health care.

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.