Gilbert denying mortgages in black Cleveland neighborhoods

CLEVELAND, OH – Some African Americans think Dan Gilbert is “cool” because he’s from Detroit, Michigan, owns an NBA team that Lebron James’ talent made money; and is seen in pictures with a lot of prominent black folk he gives money.  What’s not “cool” about Gilbert is how he’s redlined Cleveland’s black neighborhoods out of his Quickens Loans lending equation like every other racist lender in the local housing loan marketplace. 

The practice of redlining predominantly black neighborhoods hurts every one who lives dan near everywhere on Cleveland’s east and west sides.

Cleveland’s “Fair Housing Center for Rights & Research” released a report in July 2018 this town’s mainstream media ignored.  The report co-authored by Michael Lepley and Lenore Mangiarelli was paid for with a HUD grant to examine how lenders are loaning money to prospective homebuyers in Cuyahoga County.

The report highlights the redlining lending practices of all the major mortgage backers.  It reveal that African Americans who want to live in housing valued under $50,000 in predominantly black neighborhoods are not getting them from any of the redlining mortgage funders.  It’s Gilbert’s ownership of the Cleveland Cavaliers and hands in the predominantly black city’s governmental purse strings that makes his lending practices noteworthy.  

Lepley and Mangierelli’s report explained how “redlining” became a practice during and after the Depression of 1930 when Congerss created the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation and the Federal Housing Administration in 1933 and 1934.  The “racial makeup” of neighborhoods were factored into the loan equation and “residential security maps” were created to shade out predominantly black neighhborhoods.

Whites were able to take advantage of mortgages for lower-priced homes but African Americans, Latinos, Italians and Eastern European living in and around the same areas were not.  The report explained how the two federal agencies created 30-year mortgages that transferred a tremendous among of real estate wealth to the mainly “White Anglo Saxon Protestant” middle-class.   Lepley and Mangiarelli explain the net effect of the racially discriminatory practice in their report.

“They did this while simultaneously backing explicit racial-discrimination, racial segregation, and racialized poverty as policies of the federal government, then passed these practices on to private lenders. The practice of redlining and racial discrimination in the home-lending market continued legally until 1968, with the passage of the Fair Housing Act,  but even in the twenty-first century lenders have been prosecuted by the Department of Justice for engaging in redlining.  American society has internalized the belief that nonwhite neighborhoods are not worthy of credit.”

The report’s authors showed Cuyahoga County’s “redlining” map in 1940 and contrasted it to the same “illegal” one that exists today.  

The segregated living patterns of the Cleveland area are nearly unchanged after 76 years,” the reports authors conclude.

Because Gilbert and the other lenders don’t see mortgages for homes under $50,000 as “profitable,” the majority of Cleveland’s neighborhoods in a city with a nearly 6o percent black population are gettng no love from the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Their money was good enough to help him renovate the Quickens Loan sports arena.  It’s not good enough for monthly and affordable mortgage payments of $400.

Cleveland city council didn’t get any real benefits for Cleveland from  its “community benefits agreement” with Gilbert in exchange for $88 million in public funds.  

The other redlining mortgage lenders are Howard Hanna Mortgage Services, First Federal of Lakewood, Third Federal Savings & Loan, Fifth Third Bank, Huntington National Bank, Wells Fargo, PNC Bank, JP Morgan Chase Bank and Cross Country Mortgage.

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.