Indictment shows Mayor Brandon King hid the Al Zubair brothers $10 million foreign investor swindle from city council and the public

Criminally derelict mayor avoided discharging every single he was supposed to discharge when it came to creating his secret MOU with the Al Zubair brothers

CLEVELAND, OH – To understand why East Cleveland Mayor Brandon Lee King turned his back on the law enforcement duties of his elected office, to involve himself in the $10 million con game two born and raised in East Cleveland half  brothers were running on Chinese and Saudi investors, his family history, personal associations and state-of-mind are important.  King has testified to living for the past 23 years with family members who court and other records show have sold drugs, compelled prostitution and engaged in felony voting fraud.

Two of the King’s in Brandon’s household at 1735 Elsinore Street, his brothers Sheldon and Cecil, have criminal convictions for drug dealing and compelling prostitution behind the East Cleveland Public Library, and across the street from a daycare and the former Windermere United Methodist Church.  The mayor’s home was raided twice by East Cleveland police for drugs during their shared residency.  His brother, Sheldon, took the hit for the dope cases.  King’s brother Cecil compelled the prostitute.  King was cited by a city inspector on March 23, 2023 for felony illegal dumping.  He terminated the now former employee in June.

The biggest con Mayor Brandon King’s been running on East Cleveland residents is that he resides in this dump at 1735 Elsinore Street in East Cleveland with six other adults. His actual residence is in Euclid, Ohio at 20230 Glen Russ Lane where he lives with his wife. It’s been his residence since 2004.

His mother, Norma, a Jamaican alien and Richmond Heights resident, voted 47 times in federal, state and local elections in East Cleveland from an address where she was not a resident since 1990.  After her voter registration was cancelled at 1735 Elsinore Street last May 23, 2023, King bragged in an email on June 8, 2023 that she was registering there again.  She did on June 29, 2023.  Her second illegal voter registration got King’s mother a criminal investigation referral.

On paper King claims to have resided at 1735 Elsinore Street with his highly tolerant mother in a twice-police raided dope and whore house, with illegal voters, since 2000.  King’s decision to seek and hold elected office from a hoarder home with six adults in East Cleveland, while living in Euclid with his wife, and to create a lie to justify it after being caught, is exactly the type of mindset of a mayor who would involve himself in a scheme to steal $10 million from two foreign investors.

East Cleveland born and raised Zubair Abdur-Razzaq Al Zubair marketed himself on his Dubai Bridge Investments website as Mayor Brandon King’s International Economic Advisor, and used the fake job title in a con game to steal over $10 million.

Surrounded by criminally minded family members at home, King’s trusted city hall staff and demolition vendors are also ex-offenders who have sold crack cocaine, engaged in mortgage fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy and wire fraud.  A trusted King director was indicted for selling crack cocaine to athletes at the University of West Virginia in Morgantown, and fled the country to Canada to avoid prosecution.  His favored no bid grass cutting vendor is a convicted rapist.

King’s  personal attorney, Willa Mae Taylor-Hemmons, is an unethical and legally-conflicted thief on the city’s payroll.  She’s the so-called director of law who creates bogus “legal opinions” to justify his crimes in office.  Every employee in King’s inner circle of employees and elected officials is tainted by his criminality.

The streets started talking after King replaced recalled and convicted ex-Mayor Gary Norton in December 2016.  The King’s of East Cleveland were known in the streets as a Jamaican drug dealing family.  Organized criminals like Zubair Mehmet Abdur Razzaq Al Zubair, 41, and his brother Muzzammil Muhammad Al Zubair, 30, have known they had criminally-minded friends controlling city hall.  FBI agents should interview East Cleveland cop Ernest Stanford about his encounter with King as a youth.

A U.S. Department of Justice news release reveals how one of the Al Zubair brothers claimed to be descended from Saudi royalty and romantically involved with a Saudi princess.  King knew the American father they shared worked for the city’s parks and recreation department in the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center.  “Mr. Muhammad.”  [NOTE:  Their father was a city employee during this writer’s term as mayor.]

Muzzammil Muhammad Al Zubair also wore the title of Mayor Brandon King’s International Economic Advisor, although only his brother signed the fake Memorandum of Understanding.

King also knew from city and county property records in 2020, 2021 and 2022 that Razzaq Al Zubair, 41, and his brother, Muhammad Al Zubair, 30, did not own or have control of the former General Electric lighting division headquarters at 1975 Noble Road.  What half brothers Razzaq and Muhammad convinced King to do, or what he offered to do, was let them use East Cleveland’s mayor’s office to make their Chinese and Saudi investors believe they controlled GE’s Nela Park for the cryptocurrency mining operation they wanted.  King has proven himself to be too much of a crook to become a con artist’s crime victim.

It’s clear to anyone who knows the lawful duties of a municipal mayor, and the description of his acts in the Al Zubair federal indictment, that King engaged in malfeasance and misfeasance to use the mayor’s office to hold investor meetings to sell the con.  He smelled money, big money, so he acted like a conceal-minded politician who wanted a cut.  The records that don’t exist but should, in their absence show King ignored every federal and state law, and local ordinance he was required to enforce when interacting with the indicted business developers.

Section 110 of East Cleveland’s Charter gives Council, not the mayor, the exclusive authority to create paid and unpaid job classifications and define job descriptions.  Section 113(A) of East Cleveland’s Charter instructs the mayor, as do Ohio laws, to ensure the duly enacted ordinances and resolutions of Council are obeyed.  None of the constitutions, laws, charter sections and ordinances King swore to obey in his oath of office gives a mayor “international” affairs duties.  Every act King engaged in with the Al Zubair brothers was “ultra vires” or “beyond his legal powers.”

The indictment of the Al Zubair brothers names a former East Cleveland Council President as joining Mayor Brandon King’s unauthorized and secret signing ceremony. Nathaniel Martin was president of council during the time period in question. King bribed him over the past year with legal assistance and council wages that should have been paid to Councilor Twon Billings.

King gave Razzaq a fake “international” job title he created without first obtaining Council approval for the position during a public meeting.  Internally, police have said King and Michael Smedley wanted to assign police officers to escort the Al Zubair brothers through the city like they were royalty.  A former employee said she typed a letter of support for Michael Smedley to the provost of the United Arab Emirates University.  There’s no record of these activities in Council’s journal.  [NOTE:  I am the oath sworn Clerk of Council for the city of East Cleveland.]

King knew Razzaq was using the fake volunteer job title to create the illusion of legitimacy for his con game victims.  The mayor’s office, according to the federal indictment, was heavily involved in selling the illusion of legitimacy in the brothers’ illegitimate cryptocurrency mining scheme.  Private business meetings were held with the investors in the mayor’s office.  So was a signing ceremony that included a former president of council, Nathaniel Martin.

This is the second time Martin has been on the selling side of a dirty deal.  He served as president of council when ex-Mayor Emmanuel Onunwor asked Council to approve a $3.6 million no bid contract with OMI/CH2M Hill to manage the water department it cost the city $1.4 million to manage with employees.  The $300,000 bonus Martin voted to approve contained the bribe money. What King has to worry about is if the brothers, in exchange for a lesser sentence deal with prosecutors, are willing to tell them they paid King and Smedley for their involvement.

After bribing recalled ex-Councilman Ernest Smith with a car, gas and repairs for three years, as soon as the Al Zubair brothers indictment became publicly known, he distanced himself from Mayor Brandon King and said he had no knowledge of his unauthorized international dealings.

Officially, King can’t produce the public records he was supposed to have asked Council in public to let him create in order to document his dealings with the Al Zubair brothers.  There should be a numbered council resolution authorizing the mayor to create the international adviser to the mayor title he gave Razzaq.  That resolution, like all others, should have first been transmitted to the Clerk of Council to transmit to Council if King obeyed Rule 8 of Council’s Rules of Order.  If he complied with Rule 8, King has email or paper memorandum that document his interactions with the Clerk of Council.  He doesn’t because he, to this day, does not comply with Rule 8.

The Al Zubair brother King created the job title for, without Council’s knowledge or approval, should have attended a meeting of Council to explain why he needed the job title and how he intended to use it.  His name and the job title King wanted should be on the agenda of a regular council meeting or one of its committees.  There should be typed minutes of the discussion.

Al Zubair brothers federal indictment

King created an August 3, 2022 “Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)” he signed with “Mr. Zubair al Zubair” that was partially written in the “whereas” form of his own resolution.  The name in the indictment is “Zubair Mehmet Abdur Razzaq Al Zubair.”  King signed an unofficial MOU with Razzaq Al Zubair under the con artist’s alias.  The “Al Zubair” ending denotes royalty and comes from a name change he filed with the Cuyahoga  County Probate Court

King’s unauthorized and secret MOU features clauses that should have raised “international” red flags.  King brags about possessing two advanced degrees, but can’t balance the city’s budget or deliver a financial recovery plan.  Instead of discharging only the spelled out duties of a municipal mayor pursuant to East Cleveland’s charter and ordinances, King thought his MOU authorized him to “hold official talks” and “negotiations” with “individuals, organizations and agencies from the Middle East, Asia and Africa.” 

Whenever there’s been a dirty deal that hurts East Cleveland residents, Michael Smedley’s been behind it. The Noble Road dump. The illegal Kufner towing contract that resulted in 5000 towed cars. The Cuyahoga County landbank’s wipe out of blocks of East Cleveland properties. The fake cryptocurrency mining scheme at GE’s Nela Park. Smedley’s apologized, once again, but this snaggle toothed idiot is still on the payroll.

King didn’t consider the federal espionage laws he may have been violating with his foreign agency talks and negotiations.  Foreign affairs are assigned to the federal government pursuant to Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution of the United States of America.

The U.S. Department of State manages the nation’s treaties and relationships with the foreign nations Congress has defined as trading partners, competitors or enemies.   The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs interacts with the nation’s King’s agreement targeted.  Its officials scrutinize the “agencies” the U.S. authorizes officials or persons to interact with to avoid being influenced by agents of Russia, China and Iran.

Since King’s MOU with Razzaq Al Zubair would involve the city in “official talks” and “negotiations” with agents of foreign governments, who may have espionage agendas unknown to King, the mayor’s “personal” international affairs advisor was required to register with the U.S. Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.  King’s agreement would have also made him an Espionage Act violator since it included four clauses that opened city hall’s facilities, records and digital communications to undocumented foreign actors.

In an elaborate scheme that involved East Cleveland’s mayor’s office, Mayor Brandon King helped two East Cleveland-raised brothers pull off a $10 million heist of foreign investor money. They worked together to make the investors believe the brothers owned or controled General Electric’s Nela Park for a cryptocurrencing mining operation.

Pursuant to the Espionage Act, national security secrets are contained within the records of municipal governments that can’t be delivered to agents of foreign governments.  King has allowed unauthorized individuals to access the FBI’s National Criminal Information Center (NCIC) criminal records history database that police on the streets use for law enforcement purposes.  King promised in writing to provide a “digital forum” to allow “talks and negotations” with the unidentified foreign partners he wanted Razzaq Al Zubair to attract.  He promised to allow foreign “partners” to inspect the city’s facilities and evaluate its infrastructure.  King offered “financial, demographic and infrastructure” data to his personal foreign agent’s “partners.”

Cryptocurrency mining was banned in China for its power disruptions and economic destabilization.  So Chinese investors fled to the U.S., some funded by the Communist state, and found greedy and uninformed politicians who’ve been willing to sellout American infrastructure security for a few dollars.

During President Donald Trump’s administration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security saw the cryptocurrency mining operations as a national security threat.  The Chinese investors flooding the U.S. with cryptocurrency mining operations were drawing concern because the businesses were locating near national security centers and military bases.  The Trump adminstration believed Communist China could use cyberattacks through the cryptocurrency mining operations to target an area’s electric grid and disrupt its electric power, internet and other critical infrastructure.  The U.S. Navy Finance Center under the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, as an example, is headquartered in downtown Cleveland.  It handles pay for U.S. Navy personnel.

The mining is done by thousands of high energy computers that consume the amount of electricity used by an entire state.  In the U.S. the the computers have caused electrical outages and increased local electricity costs.  They also consume large amounts of internet bandwidth, slowing everyone’s access to the internet.

The U.S. Department of Energy is investigating the drain on the electric grid.  The state of New York has banned cryptocurrency mining because of the increased output of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions.  The computers the Al Zubair brothers purchased for a cryptocurrency mining operation at GE’s Nela Park were sold to a Canadian buyer.

ADM sheds light on mystery Middle Eastern investor

For a business with such a derogatory impact on East Cleveland and surrounding community residents, there should be notices of board of zoning appeals meetings King transmitted to the Clerk of Council to post and disseminate for a public hearing on the Nela Park cryptocurrency mining project the two phony developers were proposing.  All of the isues I raised in the paragraph above should have been on the agenda for a public discussion.  There should be minutes from the board of zoning appeals meeting filed with the Clerk of Council, and reported to Council on the agenda of its next regular meeting.

Since there was an MOU signed in the mayor’s office, King needed Council’s authorization in the form of a numbered resolution that gave him the authority to enter it.  Again, proof he transmitted the numbered resolution would be in communications to the Clerk of Council that do not exist.

For every communication with Council about legislation, King is supposed to possess an email or a memo he forwarded to the Clerk of Council, one week before every regular meeting, that includes the legislation he wanted Council to vote up or down.  Every act that required King to obtain Council approval during public meetings could be viewed by federal prosecutors as his intending to conceal his illicit dealings with the Al Zubair brothers.

Smedley has long been rumored to have been a bag man for both King and former recalled ex-mayor Norton.  There’s a recording of Smedley offering a voter a $300 American Rescue Plan Act funded “stimulus” if he voted against a recall of King in 2022.

A former King office employee told this writer Smedley had to learn how to address Saudi royalty to send a letter of support to the provost of the United Arab Emirates University in Dubai.  The provost was reportedly a member of the Saudi royal family who was romantically involved with Razzaq Al Zubair.

The employee wrote the letter for Smedley to send to the Saudi government official and investor about the two brothers’ and the “city’s” support for their GE Nela Park scheme.  King is not “the city” as he portrays the decisions he makes as binding whether approved by Council or not.  The letter the ex-employee told this writer she wrote for Smedley had to address the foreign provost as “Your Excellency.”

There are absolutely no international economic affairs duties assigned to municipal mayors under Ohio law and East Cleveland’s charter.  Foreign affairs are assigned to the federal government pursuant to Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution of the United States of America.

The Al Zubair brothers appear to have used claims that they needed Council approval in order to trick their Communist Chinese investor into sending more money. The fact they knew Council approval was needed, and King never scheduled a meeting between Council and his “international advisors,” is additional proof he intended for their relationship to be withheld from council and the public.

King was operating far outside what his “advanced degrees” taught him about the lawful duties of a municipal mayor when he created the job title he assigned Razzaq Al Zubair as his “International Economic Advisor to the Mayor.”  This is especially since the Al Zubair brothers were promoting their relationships with foreign government officials, and running a con game that if real would have brought a business to East Cleveland that Communist China had banned or might be behind.

The type of business they were proposing, as well as the foreign government conversations Smedley was having with the United Arab Emirate University’s associate provost, needed U.S. Department of State approval.  If the Al Zubair brothers were peddling their associations with the officials of foreign governments to American government officials, they needed to be registered as foreign agents with the U.S. Department of Justice and file a report of their conversations. It’s a requirement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Unlike King, the Al Zubair brothers have the money to pay a former federal prosecutor to represent them.  Attorney Marisa Darden was nominated by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio until it was learned she attended a 2017 drug party in Colombia hosted by ex-DEA agent Jose Irizarry.

The Al Zubair brothers hired the chair of Benesch law firm’s white collar crime division, attorney Marisa Darden. If she’d taken the job of U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio she’d be prosecuting them.

Darden, daughter of former Cleveland Brown’s safety and punt returner Thom Darden, withdrew her name after being confirmed for the job by the U.S. Senate.  She’s now chair of Benesch law firm’s white collar crime division, and handling clients charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act.

King, to his disadvantage, will be a witness in the Al Zubair brothers trial, but he won’t be advised by an attorney who knows how his answers to a federal prosecutor’s questions will be admissions of crimes in elected office.   The fall back attorney he’s used for his personal issues is the city law director impersonator he’s continued to pay from a vacated public office.  No matter what she says, Willa Hemmons is an incompetent attorney.

Hemmons will be of no use to King in the Al Zubair brothers trial since her participation in the signing ceremony, and the creation of the MOU, makes her a witness.  If Hemmons was an ethical and law abiding attorney, she’d have advised King to have police escort the Al Zubair brothers out of his office.  That might have been a problem for King since his police chief at the time,  Scott Gardner, had already been indicted and convicted twice for felonies he pled down to misdemeanors, and was working on his third.

When Claire Freeman sued the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) board for her dismissal, a federal prosecutor sat in the trial taking notes.   The information from that trial led to her criminal indictment.   If East Cleveland residents who care about the city are blessed, the same will happen to King.

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.