Bad Government 2: Using Positions On A Charity And Charitable Money To Influence An Election

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 that as far back as 2013, Summers, Madigan and Bullock took part in the formulation of the then secret plan to divert LHA charitable money and public land to private use. The plan was made public on January 15, 2015, and charitable and city funds wee 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 uncaptioned “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) know as Build Lakewood that would later fund and oppose 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 as is without review or edit and remain there today. Needless to say city leaders and CCF only provided the information that they wanted the public to see which supported their “campaign” --much of that information created a false narrative which has been discredited as the concealed evidence comes to light.

On January 20, 2016 Summers testified that charity funds were expended from the Lakewood Hospital Association (LHA) to influence the election last November. Summers initially denied that LHA engaged in advertising campaigns, public information activities and 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 are discussing and orchestrating a "campaign" that the city "ought not" be involved in but they want "LHA to to take the lead" (Note: Summers, Madigan and Bullock were all part of LHA as elected leaders). And later the PACs Build Lakewood and “No on 64” are formed and its activities funded by LHA.

So here are the established facts:

  1. Summers, Madigan, Bullock and CCF leaders used a charity and charitable money in a political campaign to influence the outcome of an election.
  2. City Hall collaborated with CCF and its legal team in use of the city website to carry out the campaign and propaganda.
  3. City Hall delayed for nearly 6 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. 
  4. The swing on the election was decided by around 2% and Summers, Madigan, and Bullock then used that result as a mandate to execute their agendas.
  5. City officials are violating public records laws for personal political purposes using private emails to avoid open and honest government.

Now that’s really bad government.

Note: Hundreds of public records requests remain unanswered so we don’t yet know how much more our government is hiding or how bad it really is.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 4:44 PM, 03.29.2016