This is a storage area for FACTS that have been found during the two year fight with City Hall for Public Documents. These are being posted for reference and historical purposes only. We encourage any conversations about these documents n "Lakewood General Discussion." Here you will find the Highlight the lie, with the document proven the lie.
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By Brian Essi
(Moderator's note: Lakewood Attorney Brian Essi is meticulously researching the back-room deals that resulted in the closing of Lakewood Hospital. He has written extensively about it for the Lakewood Observer where this article first appeared. He concludes that this is an example of "bad government." Citizens will have their chance to vote on the ordinance which authorized the deal in a referendum on the November ballot. An "against" vote is to nullify the ordinance that passed last December. A "for" vote supports it.
To clarify: The byline at the top of this article defaults to the person who entered the copy. In this case, Brian Essi is the author of the article, while Dan Alaimo entered the story, provided some editing as well as the summary information at the top. - D.A.)
• Mayor Summers, former Council President Madigan, Councilman Bullock and Cleveland Clinic Foundation leaders used a charity and charitable money in a political campaign to influence the outcome of an election.
• City Hall collaborated with CCF and its legal team in use of the city website to carry out the campaign and propaganda.
• City Hall delayed for nearly six months before producing the records mentioned above and Summers delayed his deposition until this year which deprived voters and City Council information that is now public.
• The swing on the election last November was decided by around 2% and Summers, Madigan, and Bullock then used that result as a mandate to execute their agendas.
• City officials are violating public records laws for personal political purposes using private emails to avoid open and honest government.
• The importance of architectural appeal of the new health clinic was “equal to the medical services themselves.” — Councilman Tom Bullock
• Regarding the campaign, Mayor Mike Summers “wants to engage the LHA (Lakewood Hospital Association) to take the lead, which is as it should be. The city ought to not be in a campaign but we can certainly be a bigger and more vocal part of an outreach effort.” — Former Council President Mary Louise Madigan
• In his deposition, Mayor Mike Summers initially denied LHA was involved in the advertising campaign, but later amended his testimony to say, “Yes. The Hospital Association did have an advertising campaign on the proposed charter amendment [Issue 64] …Yes. There was a direct mailer…and Yes [LHA money was authorized and spent in the campaign].”
Supporters of the deal that resulted in the closure of Lakewood Hospital in February used charitable donations to drown out opposition voices in an election campaign, while promoting their own money-making scheme. These people included top elected officials. This use of funds is a clear violation of the LHA trustees’ fiduciary duties to the hospital and to residents of Lakewood.
Meanwhile, tens of millions of dollars, and hundreds — if not thousands — of public documents are unaccounted for.
Recently released public records, and Mayor Mike Summers’ deposition transcript from the taxpayer lawsuit, expose how Summers, former Council President Mary Madigan, and Councilman Tom Bullock collaborated with business leaders to use a public charity and charitable money to influence the outcome of an election.
It has been established by legal experts that as far back as 2013, Summers, Madigan and Bullock took part in the formulation of the then secret plan to divert Lakewood Hospital Association charitable money and public land to private use. The plan was made public on January 15, 2015, and charitable and city funds were expended to coach leaders and arm them with talking points to sell the plan.
On March 3, 2015, Bullock wrote business leader David Stein a private email under the subject line, “Developing Site Plan for Hospital Redevelopment” that included Bullock’s view that the importance of architectural appeal of the new health clinic was “equal to the medical services themselves.” Stein is the head of the Downtown Lakewood Business Association and became an active member of political action committee (PAC) known as Build Lakewood that would later fund the opposition to the two ballot initiatives, including this year’s Issue 64. The same people are now backing a second organization called, Lakewood Voters for Progress. (Note: Coincidentally, both last year’s charter amendment and this year’s referendum are identified as “Issue 64.”)
On March 24, 2015, Madigan (using her private email account) wrote to Stein and others: “I wrote an email to Mike [Summers] about "campaign" mode. He wants to engage the LHA to take the lead, which is as it should be. The city ought to not be in a campaign but we can certainly be a bigger and more vocal part of an outreach effort. He said the materials will be done maybe tomorrow.”
On March 30, 2015, the Cleveland Clinic’s attorney Michael Meehan sent Law Director Kevin Butler over 600 hundred pages of documents in electronic form assembled and prepared by the CCF legal department, which were then immediately posted on the city website without review or editing and remain there today. Needless to say city leaders and CCF only provided the information that they wanted the public to see that supported their “campaign.” Much of that information created a false narrative which has been discredited as the concealed evidence comes to light.
Now that’s bad government.
On January 20, 2016, Summers testified that charity funds were expended from the LHA to influence last November’s election. Summers initially denied that LHA engaged in advertising campaigns, public information activities and that it authorized expenditures to send direct mailers to Lakewood residents to influence the outcome of the election. Some time after his deposition, however, Summers sought to change his testimony by writing the following changed answers: “Yes. The Hospital Association did have an advertising campaign on the proposed charter amendment [Issue 64] …Yes. There was a direct mailer…and Yes [LHA money was authorized and spent in the campaign].”
So Summers, Madigan and Stein were discussing and orchestrating a "campaign" that the city "ought not" be involved in, but they wanted "LHA to to take the lead." (Summers, Madigan and Bullock were all part of LHA as elected leaders). And later the two political action committees Build Lakewood and “No on 64” were formed and their activities funded by LHA.
Meanwhile, hundreds of public records requests still remain unanswered so we don’t yet know how much more our government is hiding or how bad it really is.
Now that’s really bad government.
"If you stand for nothing, Burr, what will you fall for?" - Lin-Manuel Miranda channeling Alexander Hamilton in the musical "Hamilton."
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