Repressive Cuyahoga warden didn’t want citizens talking to FBI about his brutality

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH – One day after FBI agents visited the Cuyahoga County jail, warden Eric Ivey stopped citizens being held for trial or serving time from making and receiving telephone calls.   Control room deputies conducted a “red zone” lock down on outgoing and incoming calls throughout the day.

Those jailed were told two men were caught talking after 11 p.m. the same night FBI agents visited the jail.  The next day phones that are normally available between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. to inmates who purchase $25 phone cards were silenced.  Sources said rule violations usually result in the “pod” being punished and not the entire jail.

Prisoners in the Cuyahoga County jail were not allowed to make calls one day after FBI agents visited.

EJBNEWS learned of Ivey’s orders to control room officers from individuals who interacted with prisoners being transported back and forth between the jail and court the day after FBI agents visited the jail he’s accused of mismanaging.   Six people jailed for low level offenses have died while in Ivey’s custody in less than four months.  The FBI’s visit was described as the “talk of the justice center.” 

EJBNEWS’ sources said the visits generated calls from prisoners to their relatives who were calling Ivey’s office to complain about the jail conditions they’d shared with FBI agents.  An EJBNEWS source who complained that Ivey wasn’t giving prisoners toilet paper resulted in one roll being shared with prisoners in pods with 40 beds that are occupied by as many as 60.

Ivey’s management style and “$600 a pair of shoes” fashion-sense has brought ongoing drama with the jail and his battles with corrections officers and their unions. 

Union president Frank Hocker filed a “safety” complaint  earlier this month against Ivey.  Ivey’s allowed employees like Steven Keys with 32 suspensions and an NCIC / LEADS misuse complaint to keep a job.

The website “Scumbagged” describes a violent encounter between Ivey and a prisoner he slapped by the name of John Schmidt in May 2016.

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.