Russian Ed Rybka seems to have a preference for hiring aliens instead of natural born Cleveland residents to work in the city's building department. He's doing it with the permission of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. City hall is not a sanctuary hiring hall for illegal aliens and possible war criminals. Jackson's hiring foreigners as cops.

Pressure from EJBNEWS gets city hall action on backlogged building permits

In the city where council never uses its congressional-like power to hold hearings and learn if employees the mayor supervises are obeying ordinances, or if the ordinances need tweaking, a backlog of building and housing permits may be caught up “without overtime” if Mayor Frank Jackson’s chief development official follows-up.

Mayor Frank Jackson trusted Ed Rybka, Ronald O’Leary, Thomas Vanover, Damian Borowski, Rufus Taylor and other employees he gave opportunities to manage the building and housing departments in the manner specified by laws. After 13 years in office his administration is facing a federal investigation and there’s a backlog of building and housing permits.

Jackson’s chief of regional development, Ed Rybka, met with building and housing workers on Tuesday and told them to catch up on getting backlogged permits to contractors and property owners.   There’s more than a 4-month backlog of unfilled permit requests that has pissed off smaller contractors and property owners who’ve been asking for them and ignored by criminally obstructive-minded city workers.  

The “big boys” under the Jackson administration don’t have any complaints and get their requests for city services responded to over lunch with city officials and members of council.  Smaller permit requestors have had their requests obstructed so employees under Rybka could use the backlog as a justification for overtime.

For smaller contractors and property owners, work that could have begun on properties during the spring, summer and fall months has been delayed.  The delays have made it even more difficult for property owners facing 1st degree housing court misdemeanor jail time and fines from Judge Ronald O’Leary. 

What’s even more concerning is that O’Leary was the derelict Jackson official who oversaw building and housing; and who’s management resulted in the chronic backlog for the past 10 years.  It’s possible O’Leary could be presiding over cases and punishing property owners who were harmed by his mismanagement of the building and housing departments. 

After 11 years of managing the building and housing departments Ronald O”Leary left Mayor Frank Jackson with a backlog of permits and an FBI investigation.

Critics believe the chronic corruption connected with the building and housing departments should cause council to consider decriminalizing housing ordinances for people who live in their homes.

Information discovered during and in the aftermath of former demolition supervisor Rufus Taylor’s federal indictment and conviction shows linkages to other obstructive behavior that was tied to requests for bribes.  

Documents and email to O’Leary reveals that he wasn’t pushing Taylor or Damian Borowski, another demolition supervisor, to respond to smaller contractor requests for clean-hole inspections.  Taylor was reprimanded by commissioner Thomas Vanover in 2013 for failing to ensure the employees he supervised performed their inspection duties. 

Information learned after Taylor’s prosecution and his pleading guilty reveals that his failure to push inspectors to inspect created an environment where he could ask contractors for bribes to get the inspections.

Borowski has been accused of favoring demolition companies connected to William Bauman, his son and grandson.  All three demolition companies have individually received demolition contracts from Borowski.

The only “schedule” connected to a group of Cleveland city council ordinances that requires property and land owners to obtain work, construction or plan permits is the “schedule of fees.”  There’s no language in the building ordinance setting timed deadlines for building and housing workers to issue permits and review plans.

Cleveland council president Kevin Kelly is power and control-hungry, but he hasn’t led council to use its congressional-like investigative and hearing authority to study any matter of public concern. There’s no language in any building or housing ordinance that sets a timetable for employees to deliver time sensitive permits.

There’s language in Ord. No. 3105.09 that No operations or use of premises requiring a permit shall be commenced until the permit therefor has been obtained and is on hand at the site of the operations or use.”

Council’s legislation is so lopsidedly against the property owner or contractor that Ordinance No. 3105.09 imposes a duty on the property owner or contractor to deliver written notice “12 hours” before work begins. 

The council led by Kevin Kelly makes the failure to perform this simple act a first degree misdemeanor if the person issued the permit doesn’t send the written notice.

What’ missing from council’s ordinance is a timetable for when city workers are required to deliver permits to a person who’s requested one with that same level of specificity.  It’s not designated by ordinance that a city employee who fails to deliver the document within a specified amount of time and obstructs the city’s official business is committing a criminal offense.

Despite ongoing investigations of mayors, councils and city workers for corruption by outside federal agencies, council hasn’t used its congressional-like investigative and public hearing authority to review any matter of public concern.

Council critics say the body could pass a whistle blower’s ordinance giving property owners and contractors an avenue to complain about corrupt and derelict public officials without fear of retaliation and further hold-ups. 

Kelly’s council could also strengthen the city’s dereliction of duty ordinance and make the penalties against public officials 1st instead of 2nd degree misdemeanors.  That, however, would place Kelly and other members of council in a position to have their own conduct judged against the ordinance.

Right now property owners and contractors with backlogged permits have to rely on the word of the Jackson official who’s had the job to issue permits on time since 2006 that he’s finally going to deliver the service.

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.