Submitted by jerleen1 on Tue, 08/18/2009 - 03:40.

Sam Jawhari has lived in the Tremont Community for a long time.  He is raising three children, and owns/leases the Fairfield Gas and Auto on Fairfield Avenue.  The location of Sam's business has been a garage and gas station for four, five or more decades.  Sam is one of the nicest and most considerate neighbors/businessmen in our neighborhood. 

He not only sells the cheapest gas around but if you pull in and need air in your tires, or your windshield wiped, etc., Sam provides those services without you having to leave your car - and he pumps your gas too.  Many many of the older and long-time residents rely on Sam for their mechanic work because not only is he the only local garage but he offers reasonable prices for his services as well.  Often times I have been in need of air or a flat fixed and short on cash and Sam or his attendant came right out and without hesitation fixed helped me out and got me on my way.

Even though Sam has been a true community supporter, recently he has ended up like many other old timers  with his business and livelihood in jeopardy as a result of a shakedown wherein he is now being required to go before the zoning board and obtain a variance to establish use of his gas station.  If that just the issue, there would be no problem - but, in making that request, a number of conditions are being placed on obtaining the variance.  At a long range planning committee, it was brought up that a storefront renovation project loan was offered to Sam and the owner of the property - and the discussions leaned toward the indication that if they did not accept this loan, the area block club and the long range planning committee would not support Sam getting the needed variance to maintain his garage.  This would clearly harm the future of his business and without being able to do mechanic work, Sam would not be able to stay in business.

At the OSS meeting last night Sam stated that since the beginning of this ordeal, he had lost a great deal of his daily business and,  in a conversation with him he told me that some of his patrons confessed that they had been advised by certain community leaders to not buy gas from him.  The is nothing short of a arm twisting - and a SHAME at best, since this falls right in line with trying to run the long time poor people out of Tremont. 

Last night we took a vote at the OSS to support Sam and out of the 20 voting members, it was unanimous to give this long-time resident and business owner our support.

If you happen to be in the neighborhood and in need of fuel, it would be appreciated if you stopped in and let Sam pump your gas.  He doesn't care if it's $1.00 to a fill up - your patronage would be appreciated.




Save-our-Sam.jpg27.97 KB
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S.O.S - Save Our Sam

"some of his patrons confessed that they had been advised by certain community leaders to not buy gas from him"...

That's how our fine "community leaders" work, in unreal NEO, and it is called intimidation and extortion, and is illegal. I'm going after some community leaders in my part of town for the same type of ILLEGAL activity.

You need to start an SOS campaign - Save Our Sam - and identify exactly who is fighting against him, by name, and out them. It sounds like Sam runs one of the last REAL NEO businesses in Tremont, and it sounds like he needs our help.

Great reporting, Jerleen... another story the PD wouldn't publish in a million years, because the journalists have "been advised by certain community leaders" not to care about the real people of Northeast Ohio.

Disrupt IT

The picture of Sam is

The picture of Sam is great!  Thank you so much for posting it. 

That made my day!


In a small conference room off the back aisle of Room 220, at Cleveland City Hall, City Council, owner of Gillota Fuels, Inc., John Gillotta, Sr., said it best,  "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." 

Those in attendance of today's gathering were Councilman Joe Cimperman, Chuck, Rep. and Permit Manager of Gillota Fuels, Inc., John L. Gillota, Sr., John Gillota, Jr., Sam Jawhari, leasee of Fairfield Gas and Auto, TWDC's Executive Director Chirs Garland, SII Development Director/Project Manager Sammy Catania and myself.

To make a short story shorter, it was agreed by Councilman Joe Cimperman that if they built an enclosure around the dumpster, he would appear at the Board of Zoning Appeals and support the requested variance.  There will be no other changes to the 70 year old plus gas station/garage on Fairfield.  Sammy only lost his cool and yelled at me once today.  All red faced he screamed  for me to stay out of this.  We all know how that went.

There still seems to be some question as to why this gas station ended up in front of BOZA to begin with since it surely should have been grandfathered in.

I want to thank everyone who stood up for Sam.  I do believe that we can consider this a win.  As I came home and drove down Professor, I saw Sam out riding a bicycle and he was smiling as he threw up his hand, waved  and yelled, "thank you, thank you."

One additional comment, the criminal records posted with the last name Jawhari, were and are no relation to Sam.  These were not Sam's family nor was it Sam's records.  Councilman Cimperman apologized to Sam in front of all of us that someone did such a distasteful thing.



good news

Thanks for sharing the good news, Jerleen, and also for bringing the situation public to begin with. too much goes on behind closed doors in cleveland.

Jerleen1 = progress!

Hello Jerleen, I echo dwebb's comments.  

Compliments to your dedication and hard work.

best, jeffb

for me to stay out of this. We all know how that went.


i do wonder how things would be going were it not for the awareness that has been raised.... you troublemaker, you!


This morning the Board of Zoning Appeals granted Sam Jawhari/Gillota Fuels/Fairfield Gas and Auto the variance needed to keep pumping gas and repairing vehicles.

It was a very smooth ordeal and took all of about 5-10 minutes.  This is a big win on our community's part.


sam is saved

 Good news is always nice to hear. Thanks, Jerleen, for the work that you did on this. Congrats to Sam.

Divisiveness and racism is part of the strategy

  I am sure Sam's ethnicity plays into the plan.  It's the oldest game in town.

A neighborhood gem

thats Sam.

I used to live next door to the station and the guys were always polite - watched my place too. they would tell me who came by when I wasn't home.

And when Sam had the market (now fancy shops) he would float neighbors credit when they didn't have the money to pay.



dbra, this is so good. who wrote it? 


 thank you!

Its actually a book titled "gone" that i created for an urban image class. it is filled with images of the tremont area that no longer exist.

One of the things I tried

One of the things I tried not to do was keep pounding TWDC, but in actuality, last night not only was Sam present, but so was the owner of the property and Sam did say that the pressure was coming from TWDC.  The the information brought to him was that the idea behind going after his gas station was to get it closed down so that the space could be used as a parking lot. 

And at the long range planning committee, it was Sammy Catania that said if these guys did not go for the "Storefront Renovation Project Loan" they would issue a letter of non-support and I believe that the block club following suit is the North of Literary Block Club.

The key is that if Sam cannot get a variance to continue doing  (auto) mechanic work, selling gas alone will not support his business and the powers that be know this.  They also know that if the owners cannot get this variance, without the ability to do mechanic work, no one else would be interested in leasing this gas station - What!, making it another vacant property that is just sitting there and waiting for the wrecking ball.  Never mind that they took away a mans means of feeding his family, inconvenienced the residents that count on Sam for being in the neighborhood not to mention taking away emeployment for several neighborhood residents. 

One of his employees, Kevin, has worked for Sam for years and grew up right down here on West 7th Street, his mother is in a wheelchair (she, her son and disabled daughter were present last night)  and he most definitly needs the job.  Due to the fact that Sam is not able to pay really high wages, these men also appreciate tips for pumping your gas and filling your tires with air.  My family has been patrons of Sams business since he's been there because I can go up on the coldest, snowy day of the year and they have no problem braving the elements to put air in my tires or check my vehicle.   For older people, especially the ladies, this is a blessing.

Sam keeps his lot clean, no junk cars, no garbage, no pile up of car parts, and he always has pretty flowers growing in a flowerbed around the light pole. 

If I have anything to do with it, it will be a SOS for Sam and his crew.  Some of which are out of work  until this matter is resolved.  He cannot afford to keep the garage working in fear of getting cited by the inspectors before the hearing at the Board of Zoning Appeals.  I think this is rescheduled for September 21. 


the TWDC bashing and what is community


Thank you for acknowledging the TWDC bashing.  Yes it is getting old even if it is all valid.  Seems that the problems as you have been documenting are over a year, and i guess i wonder if there is anything more than posting frustrations here as nothing seems to be changing.

Secondly - curious - how long does someone need to live in Tremont to have your respect or concern?

I know of many homeowners and elderly mistreated for the last couple decades and never saw you in the mix then.

I am to understand the Gospel Press bldg abuts your property and that was the impetus for the recent call to arms.  And i understand families, and illnesses and other obligations effect all of us and at times limit how much we can do, beyond our personal basic survival.

the question though - if you care to answer - i have no expectation nor will it effect me in your regard if you do not respond BUT:  What is your community?    (below i offer some subsets of groups as i recall you refering to them, just kinda what thoughts about your statements caused the question to come up in me)  

           - Is it TWDC too?  (you left their committee)  

            - Is it old timers (you raise longevity allot) - what timeline of living here is significant to you

            - What of anyone in a tax abated property?  Ever introduce yourself to the new person "Hi I'm Jerleen.  I raised my family                           right down the street from you.  Welcome to Tremont!"


What is your community?  I know you are passionate about that (your community) and i respect that and respect you within that.  Just asking for some parameters.

thanks for reading


content bashing

 if you are going to blog bash, "jb", at least try to make sense.


I don't think "jb" was bashing.  She was asking questions, presenting a different take, very pointedly but that's no crime.    We must learn how to dialogue when we disagree.  I have only the faintest idea of what goes on in Tremont so am not pushing any particular point. kd

nothing is relevent

why would she bother? what is her point?


Looks pretty clear to me that this was bashing, done in a oh so nice covert way. I appreciate  dialogue to be straight up on serious matters. Jerleen has done a remarkable job.

Debbie Webb

thanks for letting me know dwebb

respect that you see it as bashing.

was not my intent - but i am open to the notion that people will receive things as they do.

i agree that old timers and poor folks are getting the shove aside in tremont.

as a Cleveland homeowner i have been subjected to false housing code complaints brought against me.  i had to go through the time and expense of retaining a lawyer to save my home.  what seemed like it ought to have been simple enough to resolve was not as the code enforcement officer was rude and insulting demanding that i allow him access to the inside of my property before he would comment on whether the "ticket" i had received had been resolved.  absolute bs bullying to force the matter to go to court - all a game to up the ante and try to put resolution out of reach.

two years from start to finish to get the matter resolved.

bothers me to see the gas station getting hassled.  i've been there - it's not fun.

losing one's home or livelihood is devastating to say the least. 

i hope sam prevails.  he is lucky to have caring neighbors willing to stand up for him.

sorry that my postings have been taken by some as insulting.  others here have been more tolerant - i am thankful for the brief opportunity to share.



Ho fortunate that you

Ho fortunate that you understand the legal system and had the privilege of having legal representation.  Do you have any idea how many of these poor folks that don't have a prayer in the court system?  They cannot afford a lawyer.  They have to go in and do the best they can under the circumstances - Who do you think has the upper hand here?  If somebody, anybody, everybody doesn't start standing up  - these people are lost.

yet still you don't explain yourself

yet still you don't explain yourself as to the purpose of the "questions", jean....

but wHAtever....

My only response is, I'm

My only response is, I'm sorry I sat on my behind for so long in my own world and did not pay attention to the maganitude of suffering going on around me.

As far as committees go, there are numerous ones organized - and I do believe that the long-time, low income residents have the same right to representation as everybody else. 

Clearly, if you read and keep up with a lot of postings, you know that TWDC is under a lot of scrutiny and not just by me.  I just happen to be the one not afraid to open my mouth.  The ultimate authority being the membership is badly in need of some help in reclaiming control of their organization. 

There is no time like the present. 



thank you, jerleen

thank you for sticking your neck out on issues and speakng up.

thank you for refusing to let TWDC guerrilla tactics stop you.

thank you for refusing to sell out when attempts to placate your personal issues (and shut you up) have been made.

thank you for being smart enough to see the long term in what you are doing and not quit.

Thank you Jerleen

Rebecca Kempton

Thank you Jerleen,
Thanks so much for asking question and having the gall to expect answers.
Thank you for fighting for everyone including the long-time, low income residents that have the same rights as everyone else.  
It continues to amaze me that people still equate equality with income.
Your efforts to shine a bright light on the “rats” who may be acting unscrupulously and not in the best interest of entire neighborhood should be commended.
Up until right after the last council race I had thought I was informed.
I read the paper, I went to block club meetings, I tried to be a good neighbor… so I though I knew what going on in our neighborhood.  BOY WAS I EVER WRONG!!!
The more I learned (Thank you Henry…! lol) the more I wanted to expose for all to see.
The back room secret deals and special favors make me sick!  But not as much as the disenfranchising and the disrespect of the low-income and elderly people in ward 14!!!
Back to my pet peeve of “equating equality with income.”  
I personally got off my behind to fight for Clark-Metro. This fight lead too many others including fighting an unwanted and illegal nightclub that was supported by the councilman.
(And Just a FYI to all of you people out there who think you know all of the facts… Clark Metro lost their funding when the organization refused to support a business  (La Copa)that the Councilman did in favor of supporting the residents.) 
But that RANT is for another day and post…
My point….That I’m trying to make here (forgive my rambling)is it’s not important when or why you go involved, you’re involved now and I’m glad.

Rebecca Kempton


Clark Metro lost funding when they refused to support LaCopa

 Rebecca - I think that is VERY important. Particularly with the perpetrator (Santiago) running to retain his position.

It was quite clear it was Santiago who doomed CMDC, what are the details showing it was in relation to their failure to support LaCopa (the trouble-spot nightclub on Clark run by a convected felon heroin dealer)?

I love

that gas station. Sam keeps it well-painted and litter free. I think it has the charm of an old gas station. And sometimes Sam puts some artistic flair in the parking lot. Whenever I need gas in Tremont, I go there.  

I used to live on Fairfield across the street and the guys were always willing to help with minor car issues. 

thanks Jerleen

 for responding

i am well aware that you are not the only one dissatisfied with TWDC.   

So far as scrutiny, i fear that short of the Feds getting as far as the CDC's, that nothing will change.

So far as the gas station, i've have used then countless times over the years.  They were the last station to sell gas for 99 cents!  

There are many businesses both old and new in Cleveland that are not in "compliance."  The selectivity in enforcement is palpable.

As I stated i respect you and where you are coming from, thanks again for taking the time to respond.



jb. We all know that the


We all know that the Feds can be on board for years and nobody have a clue.  The Feds drop in after they know without a doubt they got your ass.  While I have the utmost faith in the Feds, there is no need to sit back closed mouth and allow the good people in  this neighborhood to be bullied and basically held hostage by this organization.

The gas station in one prime example of the kind of arm twisting that has gone on for years and citizens in this community are fed up.

There is no argument that many businesses are non-compliant - but as long as everybody is willing to go along and let it pass, it's going to continue.  What has come from these businesses (mostly new) being given a free pass is that many of them are running roughshod over the residents.

I believe that you are an attorney.  If so, then you should be aware of people's basic human rights and the fact that they have the right to defend those rights.  By allowing these establishments to go untethered, good long standing residents have been forced to live in unbearable condition: noise too loud into the morning hours on a nightly basis, clouds of wood burning smoke seeping into their homes, in the bedrooms where they should be allowed to fall asleep without having the smoke carried wood particles filling their lungs so that they spend the night couging and chocking not to mention eyes burning.  The travesty here is that after finding no relief - reaching out to the media brought threats and a gag by way of a Cease and Desist letter.

The city provides inspectors to sweep the neighborhood and ticket for high grass, they don't ask if the grass is high because somebody is unable to cut it, maybe too old, to disabled, etc., but they say nothing about the garbage put out on the sidewalk in the public right of way at Fahrenheit, nevermind Fahrenheit's fenced in patio that makes it nearly impossible for anyone in a wheelchair or pushing a baby carriage to safely pass by.  This iron fence has a gate at each end but if anyone attempts to walk through, they are stopped and told they are not allowed to pass. 

Most all of these new award winning high-end bars/restaurants/nightclubs have a file at at the Board of Zoning Appeals and inside everyone I found a letter in support written by Tremont West Development Corp.  I researched records going back to 1999, yet, they pat themselves on the back for sending out the Housing Code Gustapo  creating hardship and financial difficulty for poor people - nobody wrote any letters for them - and it seems to only affect the long-time residents.

Now, a man's business is threatened for the simple reason that TWDC wants to carve another notch by reporting that they have successfully assisted in gaining another signer of a Storefront Renovation Project Loan.  This makes them look good you know.  This loan is not required for this business owner to obtain a variance - just a blackmail tactic and pressured by TWDC. 

Here's a fact for you.  I am involved now, I am not a miracle worker, do not get paid, do not spend any Federal funds, HUD monies, grant dollars or people's tax money.  Am not looking for a pat on the back or favors of any kind but, I am here to stay.  I will manage to get myself to meetings at City Hall, Board of Zoning Appeal, meetings at TWDC and say what I think needs to be said.  My personal shit has already been thrown from here to Tim Buck Two - but I will not sit back and keep my mouth shut any longer and if TWDC does not want their "secrets" splatterd on the internet, stop keeping them.  They did promise transparancy.

I do not wish to offend anyone, but I am offended when clearly you are aware of TWDC's bullshit and you come on like all these other smooth talkers and want parameters. 

TWDC's slick and slide techniques have far reaching capabilities and have short changed residents in other neighborhoods by taking money that should have gone to help those people - and gave themselves raises in incriments of $5,000.  That sure as hell is not putting poor people first.

I want to make one other comment, at one time in the Tremont area, we had many local artists (you know the starving kind) who used to put their work out for public view and if I'm not mistaken weren't you one of those who came in and helped TWDC to organize and push out the poor local artist. 






I had wondered about Sam recently

about how things worked out for him. I never make it to that part of Tremont any more. Maybe Jerleen can give an update.