O'Malley & the Deal that led to downfall

Submitted by Roldo on Fri, 05/16/2008 - 13:43.

I walked into the City Council hearing room in mid-2001, to find one-time Mayor Michael White’s nemesis Pat O’Malley sitting with a number of suits in a nearly empty room. O’Malley was the County Recorder at the time.

Having known O’Malley as a once progressive/aggressive Council member and foe of Mayor Michael White, it made for an amusing sight for me. I asked him pointedly what he was doing sitting there with a team of suits. I suspected nothing good.

He was a bit embarrassed but tried selling the story that he was trying to be an honest broker between Cleveland City Council and Mayor White on legislation that essentially would make some very big money for potential owners of billboards. The new billboard legislation would allow for some large highway billboards that at the time, it was said, could earn some $10,000 a month in income for its owners.

I asked O’Malley what he was getting in return for his brokering. Oh, of course, nothing, he said. Just a public service. No quid pro quo for you, I asked him. None at all, he proclaimed.

However, subsequently applications for at least two of seven available billboards allowed by the legislation  that O’Malley was pushing were made by a firm with an owner with a close tie to O’Malley.

O’Malley when he was a Councilman had done a favor for one of the applicants for the two billboards. He changed his position on a zoning change for a car dealership in his ward. After first opposing the zoning change to allow a used car lot, O’Malley then testified in favor of the zoning change. Typically, a Councilman’s support carries much weight in zoning issues. O’Malley in 2001 was driving a Jeep Cherokee Laredo from same dealership, a check of his auto in the County parking lot showed.

Through a spokesperson at the time, White said that he and his fiercest enemy O’Malley had crafted the legislation together. Can’t we all get along? On some matters, yes.

O’Malley, of course, resigned his Cuyahoga County office Thursday, pleading guilty in a deal with federal prosecutors. The guilty plea was on one count of obscenity.

Apparently, in looking at the billboard deal, federal prosecutors found some very disturbing pornography on O’Malley’s personal computers.

I doubt we have heard the last of Pat O’Malley.

At least

At least the web folk at the county have managed to go in and quickly erase O'Malley's mug from the website, so at least we don't have to see him there.  But, it begs the question: why do they retain this embarassment?  www.checkthefence.us  I am almost drawn to it, over and over, like an absurdist play that never ends!  Or, am I descending through the circles of hell?  Is that the deep concept behind the fence?  Brilliant.

Springtime in Paris

  BTW, I don't begrudge a trip for Mayor Jackson, but why are we playing marriage counselor to Marty Sweeney and a free-get-out-of-town for Kevin Kelley?  "Shame on us, shame on us"...(if we don't give the developers want they want) to quote our ad nauseum downtown councilman and probable interim recorder/cum commissioner (?), who thumped his chest yesterday, and got a bobble-head rubber stamp from the Planning Commission on give-aways for the Wolstein flats project.

Time for all of those young turk council persons to grab those appointments that allow them to move past their "in-service" time in the City...and move on "up" to the suburbs for their piece of the pie in the sky.

Stewardship

Lack there of...seems to be the dominant behavior in NEO.  It's like a collective immaturity that never moves beyond "ME first."