Massive Cri­­­minal Enterprise - CDCs are inherently corrupt -pass through Fed monies to Developers

Submitted by lmcshane on Sun, 01/26/2014 - 00:30.
Somewhere­­­­­ along the way, many of us at REALNEO, became aware of a real estate scheme that was hatched many years ago-using OPM-other people's money. For anyone, who might tune into REALNEO and write-off or marginalize the content here, please take a minute to review my personal history, which has led me to the conclusion that there is a massive criminal enterprise at work here.
My own experience starts in 1992 when I returned to Cleveland after graduate studies in landscape architecture.  I chose to live in Tremont because I could afford the rent at the time and it was close to the Metroparks where I worked part-time in planning.  I also waited tables to earn the bulk of my income. I became aware of the local community development corporation through my neighbor, who worked as a community organizer, where he had volunteered me for a garden project.  My neighbor would later be canned by that CDC – Tremont West.  And, I would start working there as a contract employee – to help organize their databases and apply for grants (backstory – CDCs did not exist until the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977-which began the process of allowing federal dollars-OPM- to flow into CLE).  Much of Tremont was already cleared for redevelopment by arson - and the City of Cleveland assembled these plots along W. 7th especially - through the City of Cleveland Land Bank (engineered by Frangos) - Progressive Urban Real Estate with Keith Brown and Mike McBride began promotion of a project that was to connect Tremont with the National Park - the Tremont Ridge Project - for new housing designed by City Architecture.
At the time, the CDC depended on funding from Frangos, then Paulenske and Nelson Cintron. Nelson became vilified because he pulled some of his TWDC funding.  I didn’t understand all of the dynamics then, but realized later that the council person drives the CDC in their wards.  I was aware at the time that there was an influence from Gus Frangos –and Jim Rokakis with their proposal for a Greektown in Cleveland in the vicinity of Annunciation Church.  At the time, there was still a small Greek presence in the neighborhood with remnant immigrant residents near the church, a coffee shop and a Greek restaurant where Parallax is now.  Also, Jim Alex ran the much despised asphalt plant in the Flats and residents protested the fumes. 
1993-While at TWDC, I quit my Metroparks job and decided to take on some hours working part-time as a sub at Cleveland Public Library.  I later applied to an opening at a non-profit called the Cuyahoga Remedial Action Plan – housed at the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.
1995/1996- Tremont began to get “hot’ in the real estate market – mostly w/restaurants that appealed to folks who did not live in the neighborhood.  Edison’s was one of the first to take off as a destination for 20-30 year old crowd, later Bohemia helped with the revitalization, but also brought drug scene to the neighborhood.  Miracle’s was around in 80s when I worked at Metro and still in the neighborhood when I came back in 1992, Dempsey’s and the various ethnic hangouts still catered to families who worked in the flats and for LTV.­­­­  My landlord Dave Perkowski and his brother  built up a sizeable real estate inventory of rental properties.  Several other investors in the neighborhood made out w/rentals to the growing demand for housing for 20-30 year olds.  It continues to this day – with appeal of Lincoln Park, especially.
1997-After my stint at TWDC as an employee – I was asked by Emily Lipovan to serve on the board and I ran and was elected.  This became an unbearable situation, as Emily did not like me asking too many questions on the operation of the organization.  I was especially disturbed when TWDC began to negotiate transfer of a property on Tremont Ave. to a property owner who was delinquent in taxes on properties throughout the city.  The more I asked for records and accountability – the more I became ostracized and it culminated in an attack session at one board meeting.  I resigned.  But, I was very much aware then that some dirty deals were occurring – and that I was lucky to get away from the machinations on that board.
So – I gave up working with neighborhood groups until I bought a house in the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood in 1999.  By then, I had quit the non-profit job in lieu of a more stable and rewarding library career.  I managed to avoid politics until 2006 when my old nemesis Emily Lipovan became installed in my neighborhood as the council person, appointed by Merle Gordon, who had been appointed by Jim Rokakis.  Emily was so schooled in the “game” that I did not want her as my rep – in hind sight – I may have been better off if she was made our council rep, but then I thought Brian Cummins was a more “honest” person.  Nelson Cintron’s aide Rick Nagin also  got into the race – and this caused a change up in the council dynamics – as Nelson hired Rick’s wife and then lost his seat in the election to Joe Santiago – an openly gay council rep who was close friends with Emily Lipovan and Rosemary Vinci.
Also, at this time, I became incensed to learn that the local arts organization Art House, headed up by Merle Gordon’s friend Sheryl Hoffman – had determined that they would demolish the historic Wirth House.  Community development corporation dollars were used to purchase this property in 1999. I used the forum I had started at REALNEO to complain about the dirty dealings involving federal monies.  I was grateful that Norm Roulet had started the site REALNEO – it seemed like a forward idea at the time and I continue to think his efforts were stymied in Northeast Ohio, because Norm Roulet did try to usher in government accountability. I initiated Section 106 process and through efforts of several people, we were able to keep the organization from demolishing the property using the public monies allocated through Old Brooklyn Development Corporation (while Cummins was CDC Directory and Gordon was Council Rep).   The election between Emily Lipovan and Brian Cummins – was an upset w/Brian winning.  Emily was appointed to Council clerk position and she later filed a harassment complaint against Martin Sweeney.  Sheryl Hoffman and her husband Abe Bruckman (shuffled between CDCs - OBDC board, Clark-Metro, Ohio City) were able to sell their house to HUD for an inflated amount - during the housing crisis - while other properties languished and were flipped to LLCs.
As Brian took office – I was at first impressed by his commitment and mainly impressed by the energy of his assistant and her husband.  The Hamms – Johanna and Darren – did many good things including helping seniors paint their homes and organizing the CSA drive and sale of fresh farm items.  The first term was hopeful – even as the housing bubble burst and foreclosures became evident.
Demolitions started occurring and this is where I became suspicious of the history of this practice given the chain of council persons in my ward – from Rokakis, Gordon to Lipovan- and then Brian Cummins.  Johanna Hamm started to become very strange when I would question her on the mystery demos occurring in my neighborhood starting with a house on Riverside Ave.  She and her husband also championed the development of NRP housing on Denison – this even after she knew of the failed history of proposals and environmental concerns on that site under Rokakis and under Merle Gordon. This has now mushroomed to the condemnation of our neighborhood public park - WC Reed Field.
The most significant demo to occur during this time – 2008 – was the demolition of Frank Giglio’s house in Tremont.  I knew Frank Giglio peripherally through my time in Tremont and I knew he was different – but I did not feel it was right for government to strip him of his home. I sensed an injustice and this is what aligned me with Lily Miller and Angel In Ward 14 – aka Dianna Hill, who also began to write up her experiences in my ward.  The demolition of shoddy Aberdeen Homes begun under Rokakis-Gordon also raised a major ­­flag on the operations of Building and Housing Development and forgiveness of liens for demolitons.  Shady building inspectors were also being exposed at this time, includingd Richard Huberty, who  condemned Frank Giglio's property.
Brian Cummins had to run again in 2010 -this time with a redistricted ward that pitted him against  Joe Santiago .  In the primary – Joe Santiago was eliminated and Brian barely squeezed a victory pitted against Rick Nagin.  This evidently pushed Brian over to the dark side as he did not really bother anymore to conceal some level of collaboration with Jim Rokakis – appearing with his aide when the then treasurer appeared at the City Club.  I did not know it at the time – but Dianna and Lily both had experience in my neighborhood with politics under Nelson Cintron and Rick Nagin. We all started following the information being published in the Plain Dealer regarding the Dimora-Russo investigation, the Board of Revision, and formation of the Land Bank.  Many comments published at this time - revealed a pattern of civil rights issues with tax lien sales- I archived comments - about the practice in East Cleveland. The PD deleted these comments, but I later confirmed that former Mayor Eric Brewer posted this information.
Dianna had extensive real estate knowledge and Lily had extensive legal experience and an understanding  of the Housing Court system. We all began to suspect more than the corruption revealed by the Russo and Dimora investigation.  Valuations at Board of Revision were starting to become suspicious and there was some investigation by the Plain Dealer, but that abruptly stopped as FBI closed in on Dimora and Russo.  Sale of property tax liens, including sale of Frank Giglio’s property led Lily Miller to investigate exclusive sale of tax liens by Cuyahoga County to Plymouth Park Tax Services.
These liens and whole practice had been initiated by then treasurer Jim Rokakis and then deputy-treasurer Gus Frangos, who also headed up the Board of Revision.  Why this never raised a red flag in the PD investigation seemed very odd to say the least. Especially, as many “developers” under Rokakis/Frangos were left alone to accumulate massive tax lien debts – later revealed by the FitzGerald administration as the “Dirty Dozen” of tax scofflaws.  Recently, the sale of tax liens has been scrutinized by the Washington Post – offering some validity to my suspicions as the story relied heavily on the research provided by REALNEO’s Lily Miller.
Creation of the Land Bank has only allowed this massive criminal enterprise to continue – the acquisition and dealing of properties with past liens “wited” out – just as the evaluations were manipulated under Frangos while he served as deputy treasurer.  HUD monies are a factor as many of the properties acquired through tax lien sales have been rented out to Section 8.  The obvious beneficiaries of this massive criminal enterprise include Forest City and Safeguard properties.  So that is where I am in this story.  I continue to believe that collusion has played a part in the set up of this massive real estate scheme.

(still editting - 1/28/2014)

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Very Cool image of The Terminal Tower

 Is that the solder's monument in the foreground?    What's the overhanging structure?


Bus overhang

Thanks Jeff - Terminal Tower, Soldiers and Sailors and the other structure is the Bus structure overhang -

You will edit indefinitely....

Love your simplified regurgitation of the raw reality in summary format...Excellent.... 

It's nice to realize that some folks followed enough to regurgitate it all so concisely.....none of our work was in vain if one person got the big picture we screamed and looked like lunatics attempted to make the rest of the disenfranchised voters and citizens to wake up and engage... 


Sadly; this town has run amuck........sadly; it's not a place to raise your kids. Its not a place for "family"'s a nightmare here....grand efforts by the police are undermined by grandiose plans of the leadership to divide and's all so damn political. Sorry; I am simply not good at eating asses to deal with issues...the raw reality is the raw reality. 


Our local government thrives off the low income quotas it drives from a system of welfare encircled entitlement programs. Bottton line; you got so many folks who are at one extreme or the other that's it's next to impossible to meet in the middle anymore. 


Great changes have occurred and perhaps the weak minded will get their rights protected a little more these days as the police and the players of all the "NOT FOR PROFIT" worlds realize how their survival is codependent on the government raping the souls of the little people......and keeping their thumb on those folks. 

Old school folks will forever have generational and sentimental stories about all the glory days they knew in this town when it boomed... yet; the old is getting torn down and the new comes as our lives go on........We are left with remnants to consider.......

This local government was never invested in its was invested in self glory and self realizations of corruption and much more beyond the average hillbilly's wildest imagination....So the results are a town full of HUSSLERS.............of all races, religions, colors, and so forth....The Husslers will survive......while the vultures thrive off of their hussles. 

Too many examples to list; but so few give a damn in the average folks lanes that it is simply disheartening. 

An average day in Cleveland's ghetto hoods revolves around food banks, 211 for Help requests, children services, criminal activity, mental illness, chasing highs on illicit substances, an underground prostitution network that is far beyond most people's wildest imagination, and AIDS epidemic that continues to escalate with people not taking precautions, and lots of beautiful parks full of gay sex where I refuse to worry about taking my kids to get violated. Our kids are imprisoned into fenced yards; if they are lucky to go into them considering they require supervision every minute when there are predators and registered sex offenders within a couple hundred feet of every direction. Ha; riding a bike alone is something we can never allow our current and future generations to do in this town. But-most will say=this is everywhere.........


What a crazy world we've arrived at by trusting public servants to do the ethical and right things. The entire concept that ANYONE in a government position has a sense of JOB SECURITY and DOUBLE DIPPING is the most disgraceful perpetuated tax fraud upon the publc at large I can enumerate because it means that the leadership did NOT plan effectively. It means that they set themselves up for endless benefits at the cost of the public at large. They are like rapists. Take it and take it and take..........and smile in big photo ops to sustain their positions when it's all said and done....what ever happened to DAMIAN from demos in the City of Cleveland...???? SMH.


I could exhaust hours herein; all done for now. Have a blessed day. 


 BTW: EDITING SHALL FOREVER CONTINUE...>WE COULD NOT LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO REVEAL EVERY SINGLE INCIDENT the corruption has resulted in along the line.....but one thing's for sure; it's destroyed more lives than any of it has helped in an honest method. 


Toot a loo. 

Always Appreciative, "ANGELnWard14"

Sam Allard mines CLE history

Sam - It is admirable that you are doing a deep dive into Cleveland history, albeit through warped lens of Roldo's memories. I don't agree entirely with what Mary Anne Sharkey has posted, but credit to her for publishing under her real name, though her consultant firm is Mita Marketing, which is why it doesn't get much scrutiny as Cleveland City Council funds her in every budget. I think former PD writer Joe Eszterhas is still alive ...maybe you should interview him for the street politics behind business control of City of Cleveland and the takeover of an "independent" media. Kucinich's history w/Ameritrust/Sinito. Esterhas' biography includes his experience w/Voinovich. I remember Voinovich burst into tears on the steps of the Columbus Statehouse and I saw him burst into tears when HUD CDBG program went into play at the City of Cleveland. He was not a bad person. I think he was compassionate and tried to be true to his city, state and country. Our problem continues to be that our region has become bloated w/federal agency monies that only exacerbate poverty, because it generates so many NGOs and a grotesque crony political system that recycles the same tired, useless and criminal political representation. Here's a tip I wish you would follow up on - Garfoli, son of a former CLE Council person has delinquent properties on W. 25 - over 100K Ginmark aka White Gold -WRLC territory through former treasurer Jim Rokakis. Tell me why our current County Treasurer and County Council do not demand that O'Malley, the county prosecutor, foreclose these properties? Rokakis and McGinty seemed to think that Lloyd Glover, was worth pursuing for $11K for his properties adjacent to the proposed CHN Heroin Hotel in Land Bank Chair Brancatelli's Ward 12. Ask why, Sam. Recovery of tax revenue applied to services actually would help raise up the City of Cleveland and East Cleveland, where most of these tax delinquencies are occurring.





BTW - NuCLEeus should be on your radar, too_

Crocker Park's  Stark is the developer behind the Hispanic Village concept Brian Cummins is trying to float on West 25th -

How has Brian Cummins worked to benefit Stark Enterprises??

Oh, the evil web - all council reps are beholden to developers - who can conveniently camouflage their donations by giving to the council reps' pet CDCs with their pet employees.... who can then go on to bigger and brighter careers... 



Stark con artists plays CLE for a chump

Stark is the shadow developer behind proposed "Villa Hispana" in the W. 25th Pearl Rd. Corridor - hence useless council rep, Brian Cummins, is bending over backwards to serve this developer, who joins the long list of TIF recipients in NEO - including Panzica, Rubin/Coral Group and Mitch Schneider/First Interstate.  


We used to have all the amenities we need in our little forgotten part of town, but thanks to geniuses at City Hall - namely Chris Warren - along with council sychophants - we have nothing.  Schneider poached our grocery Aldis for Steelyard.  Good luck all you downtown residents - here's how TIF financing works:


"University Circle Inc. is giving the companies a year to secure tenants and funding. Rubin said the developers will contribute $30 million to the deal, while seeking out public and private financing. It's likely that Intesa would require tax-increment financing, an arrangement that uses anticipated growth in property-tax revenues from a project to pay for construction."


Not even trendy, University Circle can seem to find the formula to keep restaurant and services that residents need, like grocery in their neighborhood.  Remember Food Co-op??

Tremont UNRAVELING - it all goes back to Giglio's house

And, the demos just keep giving back... priceless...hatched in that little ole Greek coffee shop in Tremont in the 1990s... I lived through it.  Who controls Lightning Demolition???...I can remember Brian Cummins' assistant Johanna Hamm throwing a hissy fit when I asked her why there was such a push to demo properties... from Housing Court, Building and Housing, CDCs - there is something in it for everyone!!


After following the news these past couple of weeks, especially this evening, my mind quickly reverted to a time not so long ago when some of our distinguished councilmen (Cimperman for one) were warned: "be careful not to bite the dog that feeds you." And, "You build it and they will come - robbers, thieves, car-jackers, druggies, shooters, etc."

Also, after watching tonight's news, I almost choked - handing out violation notices to business with no proper COs, no proper fire sprinkling systems...... What I'd like to know is how the Board of Zoning Appeals has gotten away with granting permission and variances to so many businesses that were not up to code? - clearly public safety issues.

As far as I'm concerned, CDC's are just fronts for "their mob dollars at work."

Glad to see Ted Thelander still on the job.

Greektown Coffee Shop

From Eric Jonathon Brewer:

CDC's are not authorized by any federal, state or local law to enforce building and housing codes. I heard that shit this morning from a former CDC director and was blown away. I'll use Slavic Village Development to illustrate my point.

I visited the so-called CDC's website. Under federal law the non-profits receiving federal funds are legally classified as "Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDO)". Cleveland can spend no more than 15 percent of its total block grant budget for CHDO's ... period. 15 percent of $19 million is $2.85 million. That's all that can be spent for all CHDO's combined that operate in the city under federal HUD laws.

The guy in the picture is Zach Germaniuk who handles code enforcement for Slavic Village. I've underscored language that is clearly illegal on the non-profit's website. Code enforcement staff for non-profits are not authorized to perform the law enforcement duties of a "certified" city code inspector. So any non-profit employee who describes themselves as a code enforcement officer is impersonating a law enforcement officer. Any "notice of violations" they send through the U.S. mail is fraudulent.

The only "stautorily authorized" code enforcement officers are the employees of the city who were administered an oath of office by the mayor. The mayor is the city's chief law enforcement officer. The city has to submit the names of its certified inspectors to the Ohio Building Authority in Columbus, Ohio. Just like the cops, building inspectors must be continously educated and re-certified before their certifications expire. So what Slavic Village is doing by advertising code enforcement among its duties is criminally-obstructing the official business of the municipal corporation of Cleveland when they encourage residents to call them instead of the city to complain.

There's language that truly disturbs me on Germaniuk's "Linked In" page where he writes that Slavic Village partners with the city's building department. How? Where's the ordinance authorizing a partnership? More to the point, Cleveland city council does not have the authority to re-assign code enforcement duties that are authorized exclusively by general laws. The building code is a "general law." All Ohio cities have no other duty to but to obey them as written. Here's a link to them all. I want you to read the specific administrative code section that tells Germaniuk he's breaking the law.

"4101:7-3-01 Residential and non-residential building department personnel certification. Residential and non-residential building departments shall have personnel qualified to execute the duties required to enforce the rules of the board. Only those certified individuals employed by or under contract with a particular political subdivision are authorized to exercise enforcement authority within that same jurisdiction."

I understand all the CDC's are doing this shit. They all need to be investigated for it. Here's what's going on.

Germaniuk and other CDC directors and employees are real estate attorneys. Some might have side deals with developers. They're using the CDC's "enforcement" language and the sham "code enforcement" process they've created to justify sending letters to homeowners whose properties are targeted for acquisition. The homeowner doesn't know they can ignore the letter. The illegal "partnership" between the CDC's and Ronald O'Leary, Ed Rybka and the other criminals who've run the building department into an FBI investigation provides the "muscle" to the enforcement letters generated by sham enforcement officers like Germaniuk. He has "zero" legal authority to enforce "any" law or to inform a person that they are in violation of laws based on complaints received by the non-profit.

There is no such thing as an anonymous complainant in a criminal action. Every person under the 6th Amendment has a right to face their accuser in a criminal action. Cleveland city council has deemed it fit to make housing code violators criminals by ordinances they could easily make civil; and with that comes the 6th Amendment's guaranteed protections.

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."

I would advise any homeowner who's received an "enforcement letter" from Germaniuk and other CDC enforcement officers to turn them over to the FBI and HUD's inspector general. The documents are fraudulent and unenforceable. As mayor I would prosecute a non-profit's employees for this criminal s hit.

I don't know who's guiding you folk running these fucked up azzed CDC's that you should be calling CHDO's, but just know all the shit you're doing is being investigated by HUD's inspector general and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Y'all ain't holding public meetings. Your board compositions are all illegal and none of the shit you're using to avoid performing the real duties are going to satisfy federal authorities. You're not being monitored, annually, as required by federal laws by the city. The city under the Jackson administration provides no technical support to show you how to manage your non-profits in accordance with federal laws. The fact is you're fucked.

O'Leary. What the fuck kind of shit did you and your "partners" do to this town's property owners? Y'all are some evil mutha fuckas.

Property owners. Are y'all mad ... yet? You've been getting fucked 6 ways to Sunday. Ain't nobody in this mutha fucka leading ... reading.



Folks in Tremont know that a lot of shady real estate plans were hatched out of that little Greek Coffee Shop on W. 14th/Fairfield - What a surprise - Rokakis' father ran the joint - mentioned at 2:25 of this interview:


Law OKs speedier foreclosures

Plain Dealer, The (Cleveland, OH) - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 

Author: Thomas Ott, Plain Dealer Reporter


A new state law will allow counties to more quickly seize many abandoned properties.  

The law will let county boards of revision instead of the courts rule on foreclosure of abandoned property for back taxes.  


This is when Rokakis-Treasurer and Frangos-Board of Revision could really start giving away properties.  Cleveland Housing Network in Tremont was major player receiving properties from Rokakis-Frangos for the lease-purchase program.  

Nowadays, CHN can't make a dime on their lease-purchase houses - so CHN is working the permanent-supportive housing gig.


Ironically,  CHN are frequent flyers in Housing Court for the deplorable condition of their lease-purchase homes, which get trashed, abandoned etc. and Safeguard Properties actually reported the news:

City of Cleveland Vacant Properties

A recent report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer discusses vacant properties and the role of lending institutions and investors associated with the properties.

Big banks head list of urban deadbeats 

Bills for boardups, cleanups go unpaid

Cleveland has for years billed property owners after boarding up their vacant houses, mowing their untended lawns and carting trash from their garbage-strewn lots. 

And for years, the vast majority of the bills have been ignored. In 2005, for example, the city spent more than $2.6 million cutting grass and cleaning lots, but recovered only $750,000, or about 28 percent. 

As of last month, landlords still owed the nation's poorest big city a combined $4 million for tending their property, an analysis of city records shows. That's more than twice this year's budget for demolishing and boarding up vacant buildings and nearly three times what the city spent in 2005 helping needy seniors repair their homes. 

The worst offenders, by the city's reckoning, include some of the world's biggest names in banking - JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo or subsidiaries of the financial institutions. 

Others contributing to the problem include the Cleveland Housing Network and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, two organizations that are supposed to help the city fight neighborhood blight. 

Cleveland has typically sought to recoup the money by filing liens on the properties that were tended by city workers. But that means the city doesn't get paid until the houses are sold. So this year, the city has hired a lawyer to collect on the oldest bills, some of which date back years. 

"They have the ability to pay, so they should pay," said Finance Director Sharon Dumas. "We need to recover our costs, and they need to become good civic citizens particularly because these abandoned homes are a quality of life issue for the neighborhoods." 

Most of the financial institutions dispute the city's claims. They argue that Cleveland tries to make them pay for properties they no longer own or have never owned. 

But the Cuyahoga County auditor's office reported few problems placing the liens, an indication there is little confusion about who owns these properties. Dumas said the city worked closely with the county, verifying owners before filing the liens. 

In past years, City Council members and others complained that the city wasn't meticulous about finding property owners and frequently missed the September deadline for filing liens. By the time the liens were filed the following year, the property had been sold. 

The city's high foreclosure rate is a major reason that the institutions that grant or insure mortgages owe the most, city officials said. During the foreclosure process, ownership often isn't clear, meaning the city has to dig through county records to find the actual owner of a structure or lot. 

But many of the banks and mortgage companies contend that the city still does a sloppy job in finding the real owners. They complain that Cleveland often labels them as the owners, when they are only trustees. 

"A corporate trustee for mortgage-backed securities where there is a pool of investors only serves an administrative role, but has no ownership stake," said Kevin Heine, a spokesman for the Bank of New York. 

Heine said the bank owns none of the properties that the city says it does, including 11 structures that the city boarded up. He said the bank once owned one, but sold it. It's a trustee for four others, but the companies that service those loans are responsible for resolving the issue with the city, he said. 

A spokesman for Deutsche Bank, which the city has billed for 22 properties, said he would look into whether any of the bank's subsidiaries owned the properties. 

HUD denied owning any of the 12 properties for which it was billed. A spokesman said HUD used to own two and had insured mortgages on three others that were later paid off by their owners. 

The city said it had boarded or cut grass at 19 Wells Fargo properties, but a spokeswoman said the company had owned only two, but sold them. 

Several companies said they are willing to work with the city. 

Cleveland Housing Network head Rob Curry reported by e-mail that the nonprofit had not received bills for all of the properties. He said the agency either paid or appealed the bills it received. 

"CHN is a good citizen," Curry wrote. "We take our mission seriously and strive to pay our bills, including and especially those from the city of Cleveland." 

Fannie Mae, a government-chartered buyer and guarantor of home mortgages, is committed to paying and is working with the city to see how much it owes, spokesman Alfred King said. 

JPMorganChase - which owns Bank One - denied owning most of the properties for which it was billed. Spokeswoman Mary Kay Bean said the bank did serve as a trustee for several of the properties. The bank wants to resolve "concerns about property the bank has repossessed," she said. 

Councilman Robert White said he believes the city lists are accurate. Several of the homes are clustered in his Union-Miles ward, causing blight and despair among the residents. 

"They need to step up to the plate and be truthful about what they own, so that they can become a team with the city in solving this issue," he said. 

Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka said he is checking the city's list of unpaid bills against owners with criminal cases before the court, making sure their cases can't move forward until they pay their bills. He said he was looking at doing something similar for landlords filing evictions. 

Councilman Jay Westbrook, who has complained in the past about the city's lax collection methods, said he is optimistic about the changes. 

"It is about time the city is making the people who own the assets take responsibility," he said.

To view the online article, please click here

Piano Factory? 3026 Scranton

$ 386,511.57 Unpaid taxes - condemned building transferred from Cuyahoga County Land Bank to the Mancini Group LLC - supposedly for market-rate housing...??

The Land Bank history and relationship with CHN starts w/Tremont

Gus Frangos legislated the City of Cleveland "Land Bank" - Tremont West would transfer vacant properties to the new Cleveland Housing Network.  See story buried in


Originally posted 6/2016 - updated 7/5/2022

LandBankcover_final061820_800xA book by Jim Rokakis and Gus Frangos

The devastating impact that the foreclosure crisis had on America in the period between 2000-2010 resulted in what came to be known as the Great Recession. Communities in Ohio were especially hard hit. In Cuyahoga County, a group of dedicated public officials and community activists put together a powerful new tool called a county land bank. Over a period of ten years, this group of community leaders has raised hundreds of millions of dollars, demolished  tens of thousands of vacant and abandoned properties, and made life better for countless Ohioans. This is their story.

Massive Criminal Enterprise - Land Bank Demos and Transfers

From: Sarah Norman 

Sent: Friday, May 27, 2016 11:46 AM

To: 'Laura McShane' 

Subject: public records request


Dear Ms. McShane:

We have obtained the information responsive to your public records request.  The file containing the information is, itself, too large for transmission by email.  For that reason, the information has been placed in a DropBox account.




To access these files, which you can view, print, or save from within DropBox, please follow these instructions:

1.            Access DropBox by clicking on this link: [You might want to “bookmark” this “url” for future access to DropBox without having to return to the link in this e-mail.]

2.            When DropBox opens, you will see a pdf copy of the document.

3.            Once the document is open, you can read it as it is, or, if you want to make a copy of it for yourself, click the “Download” button on the right side of the header and you will download it to your computer.  From there you can print the document if you so choose. 


This represents the totality of documents or information responsive to your request, thus no future deposits will be made into this DropBox account.  This account will remain open until 11/28/2016 at which point it will be closed and deleted.  Have a pleasant holiday weekend!



Frangos family - the on-going swindle

Frangos is vice president and legal counsel for The Frangos Group, which operates 20 parking lots in Cleveland under the name USA Parking Systems.

Last week, Cleveland 19 aired an investigative report featuring undercover video of Frangos and other USA Parking employees charging customers $40 per vehicle to park in the illegal lot near Progressive Field during the Indians playoff run.

In addition to not having a license to operate or proper signage as required by law, the parking lot on Sumner Avenue does not have the fencing, landscaping, paving and striping, as required by the city of Cleveland.

We've been told USA Parking Systems has been using the vacant property as an overflow lot during Indians game since last year, but apparently no one at City Hall noticed until September

Revisit Cimperman's FALL from GRACE -Sittenfeld Cincy case

In response to question about audits:

I can tell you for a fact and without any hint of hesitation that Adam Rosen, as an example, who works for Detroit Shoreway Corporation has submitted fraudulent paperwork to Jeff Ramsey that he's submitted to the city that ex-acting Community Development Director Michael Cosgrove chose not to investigate. Notice how abruptly Cosgrove left the city right before the raid at city hall. I can tell you for a fact that Rosen's time allocation sheets are fraudulent and he's probably not the only one over there falsifying federal "time allocation sheets" in exchange for federal funds under Ramsey. He's an attorney. I dare him to sue me.


From Eric J Brewer 5/3/2018

You're wondering why Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley is taking such a light approach to prosecuting ex-Councilman Joe Cimperman for voting on 26 contracts that enriched him and his wife, Nora Romanoff. I have an opinion about his reasons.

O'Malley was on Cleveland city council in 2000 when Ward 17 Councilman Tim Melena sponsored an ordinance to let council divide about $11 million of the city's $30 million in block grant funds from HUD between each of the city's 21 wards. Council had been taking $300,000 a piece in block grant funds since 1995. In 2000 they upped it by another $200,000 to give themselves $500,000 each.

This shit was criminal and a violation of federal block grant laws for council to “appropriate” HUD's money that way but it didn't matter. 2000 was the year before the 2001 elections and $1 million each would give them money to spend thereby creating the illusion in “their” wards that they were doing something.

Michael Polensek was council president. Bill Patmon chaired the finance committee. O'Malley was representing Ward 16 and couldn't stand Mayor Michael White. Mayor Frank Jackson was representing Ward 5. Polensek, Patmon, O'Malley, Melena and crew wanted to stick it to Mike and it didn't matter if they violated federal laws to do it.

Linda Hudicek was Mike's community development director. Chistopher Quinn who now leads as vice president was a reporter for the Plain Dealer covering city hall in 2000. He wrote about council's theft of federal funds in a March 28, 2000 story. The FBI and HUD's inspector general should examine the City Record in 2000 and retrieve Ord. No. 135-2000 Melena sponsored. 2000 is the year I joined the White administration as a special assistant.

Linda told Quinn council was creating a slush fund of $1 million each that they wanted to spend without oversight. O'Malley was one of the councilmen Linda targeted in her statement. Patmon wouldn't let her speak at the council meeting where they were discussing the cash grab although it is a “charter-mandated” right of department heads to address the council on matters that involved the department's they supervise. I joined Mike's administration later in 2000 as one of his special assistants and the impact of what council had done was still being discussed.

Since I've managed East Cleveland's community development department twice and wrote the $2.2 million grant to knock down 150 homes and renovate 15 before I left I'll share from an “inside” perspective why O'Malley's vote to spend block grant funds that year impacted Cimperman. And for the record, the only time East Cleveland's community development improved was after I went through three directors and decided to run it myself. On my way out the door HUD's inspector general called to let me know their audit of “my” management of the department had resulted in “zero” audit findings. Count zero. That means “none.” I know some shit.

HUD's national objective in 2000 was “to eliminate slum and blight.” HUD sends block grant dollars to census tracts where the poverty is higher. Census tracts are groups of blocks of about 4000 residents who all live within the same geographic boundaries. The amount of low-income residents of a census tract are added up by HUD to determine how much block grant money is needed within the census tract. So the more low-income people living in an area the more federal dollars that area and the residents of it are “supposed” to get to eliminate slum and blight. HUD lets cities spend block grant money on “supported activities” such as paint and housing renovation programs and storefront renovation. Again. HUD wants block grant money used to eliminate “slum and blight.” The "D" in HUD also stands for "Development" and not "Demolition." I got that directly from Alphonso Jackson in his office when he served as President George Bush's HUD secretary and invited me to D.C. to meet with him and his staff.

There is an important point I want to make about HUD's calculations. Low-income people are “used” to get the money and it's supposed to be used for their benefit. That's not what's been happening under the council O'Malley served on and others.

This was a point George James made to me when I worked for him as his chief of communications when he served as CMHA's first black director in 1989. George was pissed that CMHA's residents were being used by Mayor George Voinovich's administration to get a large portion of the $30 million block grant funds but not a dime was spent on anything that benefited them.

So imagine in Cleveland where the black population is close to 60 percent and the number of black low-income residents is high but residents in West Park are getting the same $500,000 in block grant funds as the residents of Mount Pleasant. West Park would need six low-income census tracts to be worthy of a $500,000 allocation of HUD block grant funds but they don't exist. So in truth the money going to West Park should be going to Mount Pleasant, Glenville or Hough as an example because that ward doesn't qualify to receive or spend it. It's why councilmen “loan” money to each other through pet projects. None of this shit is statutory or consistent with federal regulations. They're violating all kinds of laws. If I were on council I'd be running from instead of fucking with what some who don't know better call CDC's.

All this is in Title 24 U.S.C. 570 that I guarantee no one on city council read; including O'Malley when he served. That's why city hall's block grant office was raided in November 2017 by federal agents. Ain't nobody over there reading and obeying the federal, state and local laws they're supposed to be obeying. I'm going to share a link to the HUD laws so y'all can know what they don't.…/documents/24-CFR-Part%20-570…

The problem with the council in 2000 and today is all this racial shit. I'm going to keep this about as real as it gets. Back in 2000 when council was voting for its block grant cash grab of $500,000 each the black members of council didn't understand they were actually fucking the low-income residents of the wards they represented. This is what pissed off Mike.

O'Malley, Michael Dolan, Melena were off on some racial shit. In their minds all the money should be divided equally irrespective of the laws. Why should black people be getting more money than white people? In truth the bulk of the $30 million in block grant funds every year since 1995 should have been spent preventing the “slum and blight” that was occurring on the east and near west side if it were spent in accordance with federal HUD laws.

There are parts of Detroit Avenue in the ward Matt Zone represents that should have received block grant funds 20 years ago. Today with all the development along Detroit Avenue from West 25th Street to West 65th Street there should be no block grant funds going to support development in that area. Those census tracts aren't poor anymore but for the people who live in public housing who for whom Zone does nothing. I'll also add he was Tamir Rice's do-nothing councilman.

So the Detroit Shoreway Corporation that really should be criminally-investigated by the inspector general for misspending block grant funds is receiving block grant funds for low-income people that isn't being spent to benefit low-income people. Look at it this way.

Housing for Cleveland State University University students along Chester Avenue was built in part with federal funds earmarked for poor people. This is a trick developers and councilmen used to spend the funds because the students developers “planned” to attract to the housing would be full-time and either unemployed or under-employed. The CSU student housing census tract would be low-income if the CMHA residents of Ernest Bohn Towers on E. 13th and Superior were included in it. So the low-income residents of Bohn Tower are used to get the block grant money but they don't benefit from it.

I question why HUD has put up with this shit for so long. I think it's derelict on the local HUD office's part that they didn't step in immediately in 1995 to prevent this bullshit council started. Council didn't spend the money the way it should have been spent so some got creative and started backing and “controlling” the Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDO) that some wrongly call CDC's. There is no such acronym as CDC or the term "community development corporation" under HUD in any federal statute.

Let me say that the FBI is looking at “all” of Ceveland's CDC's. LOL. What Frank as mayor should have been doing and didn't was ensuring that his community development directors annually monitored the CHDO's. He voted for the same cash grab as the other council members and was one of the black councilmen who didn't realize he was actually cheating Ward 5 residents out of money.

Think about all the poverty in Ward 5 and how much the residents of that ward contribute to Cleveland's overall block grant fund and all he got was $500,000 when he was entitled to $2 million. The $2 million is the "approximate" amount CMHA's former director told me the residents of Central contributed to Cleveland's overall block grant amount. He believed CMHA's residential population contributed somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million to $5 million of the $30 million Cleveland got in block grant funds in the late 1980's and early 1990's.

If the FBI and HUD's inspector general were to investigate O'Malley's involvement with the CHDO's in the ward he represented as a councilman they might understand why he's taking such a soft approach on Cimperman. Look at all the elected officials defending Cimperman and it's understood that they're really defending themselves. The corrupt system that Cimperman used to enrich himself was created as a result of a vote by O'Malley.

Zone was whining his azz off at the council meeting on Monday about how much Cimperman “gave” to us all. Thieves don't give. They're thieves. They steal. It makes them "takers" not "givers." Don't worry Matt. Your day along with that of Joe Tegreene and Jeff Ramsey is coming and soon.

Here's one for y'all. Ask Tegreene what he told Cleveland homicide detectives when they questioned him and another former politician about the death of Colleen Shaughnessy in the state office tower.

They'll have a lot to talk about at city hall today. Judge Michael Russo should reject Cimperman's guilty plea and offer to pay $10,000 out of all the money he stole for his wife. Send his azz to trial.

I think O'Malley's covering for himself. I think the FBI and HUD's inspector general should go back to 1995 after council started dividing money among its members to see how it was spent. That's my opinion.


From Eric J. Brewer 5/1/2018 :

This shit sickens me the more I think about it. Joe Cimperman used the authority of the seat he held on Cleveland city council to vote on 26 contracts that enriched his family. Instead of being sent to a federal or state prosecutor he's cut a deal with Ohio Auditor David Yost and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley to pay $10,000 in fines and say I'm sorry. Jimmy Dimora got 28 years for stealing. Frank Russo got 22 years for stealing. Emmanuel Onunwor got 8 years for stealing. Y'all wanna let this mutha fucka pay $10,000 in fines and all is good. So this is how Corrigan is dispensing justice as Cuyahoga County's prosecuting attorney. He served on council with Cimperman. What? Y'all got deals together? Did you get overly-involved with CDC's when you were on council, Mike? You probably understand. Is that why you're going outside for a "special prosecutor?" Bullshit.

Judge Richard Ambrose assigned Cimperman's case to Judge Michael Russo. Russo has to decide whether to accept this bullshit. I hope the fuck he tells Cimperman's attorney, Roger Synenberg, and Cimperman both to go fuck themselves just out of respect for the "Russo" name and justice. Italians get 22 and 28 years. There's a whole 'nother justice system for the other Catholics.

This reminds me of the same "ethics" sidetrack scam the Republicans did to protect George Voinovich and his boy Randall Fischer when he was director of the Ohio School Facilities Commission. It reminds me of the shit they did to protect Paul Mifsud when he was George's chief of staff as governor. Cimperman is trying to get "that" deal.

Fischer personally and illegally "awarded" $2 billion in contracts to construction contractors who were building new schools and had contributed to George's campaigns for governor.

The board of the school facilities commission should have awarded the contracts after they were publicly-bid. Fischer awarded them on his own without a vote and any public bid ... ever. Let me repeat. This mutha fucka by himself awarded $2 billion in construction contracts without public bidding or a vote of the board that was supposed to authorize him to go out for bid and approve the contract.

Jennifer Brunner was the Franklin County judge presiding over the case and the transcript validated Fischer's crimes. He took money from the contractors and went to work for one of them after he left the job. Instead of going to the Franklin County prosecutor they sent him to the Ohio Ethics Commission under another Republican state auditor named Betty Montgomery. Fischer got a $1200 fine and scolded by the judge. The case that got Fischer busted is Monarch Construction v. Ohio School Facilities Commission 2002.…/1422740.html

Mifsud had "given" a contract to Cargill Construction of Columbus after the owner did $100,000 worth of renovations on his girlfriend's home. Her name before marrying Mifsud was Kathleen Bartunek. He got six months of sleepovers in a state prison and worked for George's U.S. Senate campaign during the day.…/9710101544_1_morrisse…

For Judge Russo to accept this thief's deal would make a mockery of justice that we already know doesn't come out of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Cimperman is not innocent. He's not a "good guy" for confessing his crimes. He's an admitted thief who deserves to be criminally prosecuted and convicted like every other politician who's been prosecuted and jailed for stealing. He's no gotdamned different.

Fuck all that "good guy" bullshit coming from Mayor Frank Jackson and all the so-called "city leaders" who should caught the thief in the act of stealing. It's the mayor's job pursuant to R.C. 733.34 to supervise the conduct of all the city's officers. Frank's got stealing going on all over city hall and now he wants to excuse thieves. Why?

One contract he voted on was for $200,000 that benefited his wife. There are 25 others of all amounts. That money could have gone to knocking down homes, renovating homes, putting physicians on EMS squads, replacing poisoned pipes from the street to homes or putting Cleveland residents to work doing something that benefits Clevelanders.

I'm sick of all these thieving azzed politicians stealing, shitting all over the laws they pass and then expecting some special deal for themselves while they fuck everyone else.

This mutha fucka needs to be behind bars. Cimperman isn't the only thief and it's obvious the other thieves are working behind the scenes to cover him so they can cover themselves.

Put his azz on the witness stand. Let him answer very direct questions about who he spoke to about his vote, the contract and the other parties in on the deal. Don't contain this shit. Expose this shit.

Russo would end his right to be a defender of justice if he gives this thief special treatment. Judge Russo. The people are watching. Don't accept this deal.



from Eric J Brewer 4/29/2018: 

This is the guy (Greg Peckham) who leads the non-profit that employs Joe Cimperman's wife, Nora Romanov. His name is Greg Peckham. She's in the #2 spot at Land Studio for $138,000 a year. One black employee out of 17. Mostly women. This is Cleveland's idea of diversity in a city with a near 60 percent black population. The big boys are on Land Studio's board. Forest City Enterprises. Eaton Corporation. The Plain Dealer's law firm ... Baker & Hostetler. The typical scumbag corporate types. I have a great story about a former Eaton Corp. "high ranking" official and a hooker on 40th and Cedar who robbed him. She wasn't his regular "girl."

I'm sharing some information about two properties Peckham's wife, Tana, got from the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation under Cimperman's so-called "watch" as the councilman. One is located at 4204-4206 John and is a two-family. The other is at 4208 John and is a single family. Both transferred to Tana Peckham in 2012. She paid $3951 for the two-family and got the single-family home for free. Great deal for the Peckham's thanks to the councilman husband of the non-profit's #2 "associate director." The councilmen in Cleveland see the non-profits' as "theirs" so this one was Cimperman's.

They even got taxes wiped out from the last owner, Theodore Amata, who bought it for $155,000 from Ohio City Restorations, Inc. Mary Ellen Cruz was notified as an agent of Ohio City Restorations in January 2007 that the corporate entity's articles of corporation were cancelled for non-payment of taxes.

Peckham said the "city" was about to demolish the properties when he answered an email from a Scene reporter. He went into a lot of song and dance in the email about how he got the property from a contractor, and a $362,000 loan to fix them, but he left out a lot of shit in his answers to the reporter. You've also not seen any of this information in Scene.

The whole "city about to demolish" is part of the "give the house away to favored people" scam that's going on with all the land banks. The cities that have landbanks do this shit. The county definitely does it under that skunk Jim Rokakis. Yeah. He's taking care of his friends, too. Judge Ray Pianka was even giving houses away that had been "taken" from people. He did this for someone we all know who lives in Hough.

This is what Cleveland's "mob" looks like folk. It's a different mob than the one that existed before but the background players are still the same. They're sons, daughters, grandsons and grand daughters have married and changed names. They're the same people with the same game under different names. I'm not saying Peckham is a mob character but the stuff I'm getting through my backdoor channels about Cimperman and his associates suggests racketeering.

Joe Cimperman is a thief and the 26 count indictment is just the tip of the iceberg of his crimes. Big names are behind him and they don't want the scandal. So right now they're trying to get a "fix" in with the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas and they think Michael Russo is the right judge.

Let me tell you about the judge I know who got a $150,000 loan from a major labor organization who as the county court of common pleas' "presiding and administrative judge" was able to "steer" cases that favored his labor loan donor to a friendly judge.

I hope Russo doesn't fall for the dumb shit and accept Cimperman's deal. The FBI and HUD's inspector general raided Cleveland city hall on November 29th last year. They took out records from the city's "community development office" that funds organizations like the one that employed Cimperman's wife. Five months later and Cimperman is under indictment and a non-profit that was once Parkworks that employs his wife for $138,000 has an executive director whose wife got two damn near free homes from a non-profit under Cimperman's influence if not control.

Racketeering. The charges are insufficient. A further investigation is required. It should go federal and not local because the local boys are trying to cover for Cimperman to cover for themselves. The FBI ain't got no problem putting a judge in jail who may be in on what appears to be a "fix."

If what I've shared is a sample of the information behind the 26 indictments then the $10,000 offer from Cimperman represents only a cheap way out of a trial and legal fees.

This dude is dirty. Justice demands that he be treated accordingly.

You councilman need to get the fuck away from the CDC's and let Frank and his crew deal with them as HUD's laws and regulations require. All of y'all ain't gonna get the same treatment as Cimperman. Watch. I even have a story about a prominent "CDC" board chairman who was questioned by Cleveland cops in a homicide.

Jackson - Gordon Affair outed by Scene Magazine - stay tuned

FTR - Rachel and Brie Zeitner knew about the affair while they worked on their lead stories.  Decided to not reveal - LEAD is an issue in NEO, but the real issue is slum landlords who are able to continue to rent out properties while not paying taxes on those "investments."  Former CLE City Council folks - Gus Frangos and Jim Rokakis - KNOW about this LOOPHOLE and so does current council representative, Anthony Brancatellli - who looks the other way on his friend Chester Cuiska's unpaid taxes.