Sam O'Leary Is Unfit To Be Mayor--Here Is Why
In December 2015, Sam O’Leary was a defendant in a lawsuit brought on behalf of the residents of Lakewood alleging that he and other members of City Council held secret meetings and agreed to enact the so-called "Master Agreement" prior to any public meetings.
This agreement, between the City of Lakewood, the Lakewood Hospital Association (LHA) and Cleveland Clinic, would close Lakewood Hospital and give away $120 million of taxpayer money and property belonging to the residents of Lakewood.
To conceal the non-public (i.e. illegal) meetings and decisions made in secret, O’Leary gave false testimony under oath that the Master Agreement “did not exist when it was announced”--even though this testimony contradicted his own statements made at a press conference held earlier that month in front of TV cameras.
Let's pause for a moment and reflect on the absurdity of insisting to a court of law that you held a press conference to announce an agreement that did not exist.
The people of Lakewood didn't buy it either.
The residents’ lawsuit against O’Leary was instituted, in part, because of his comments in support of the Master Agreement at that December 7, 2015 press conference which occurred before any public meetings were held concerning the terms of ANY agreement.
O'Leary described the agreement in very particular terms, making statements before the cameras like: “This new agreement funds our future…. Specifically, this agreement means the Cleveland Clinic will…. Demolishing the old parking garage is part of the agreement.”
The clear implication of O’Leary’s statements was that an agreement existed and he was in favor of it.
Each of the other 6 councilmembers made similar statements referencing the “agreement” and their support of it. (The complete press conference can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lChNMhrAXCk)
On December 21, 2015, O’Leary gave the following testimony in Court:
“The agreement that was announced on December 7th did not exist when it was announced and, therefore, it is correct to say the council had not deliberated on the definitive agreement that wasn’t in existence yet, absolutely.” (From the Court Transcript at page 63; lines 18-22).
Public records prove that this testimony was false, and O’Leary knew it was false.
Earlier that Summer and Fall of 2015, O’Leary had participated in multiple e-mails regarding the “Master Agreement” which he insisted, in court, had not existed until much later.
Three June 2015 emails discuss the “New Master Agreement” and even “a listing of attachments to the master agreement.” A December 2, 2015 email by O’Leary complains that LHA “Trustees leak like a sieve” to the media concerning the “roll out of the transition plan” for the Master Agreement.
The testimony was not only clearly false, it is indicative of Mr. O’Leary’s pattern of duplicity.
Why Was O’Leary’s False Testimony Important?
Hours after O’Leary’s dishonest testimony and the Court ruling that relied upon it, O’Leary and his colleagues voted unanimously to enact the Master Agreement into law, closing Lakewood Hospital.
This resulted in the transfer of over $120 million of Lakewood taxpayer money and property out of Lakewood, and the loss of 900 taxpaying jobs.
City Hall, led by O’Leary, then fought a long and costly public records lawsuit to keep those e-mails buried. In this case, the law prevailed.
In 2017 —two years later —courts compelled the release of the e-mails which disprove O’Leary’s sworn testimony during the earlier lawsuit.
The facts are simple, documented proof that O’Leary’s reputation for dishonesty is deserved.
We can’t afford to overlook this kind of dishonesty any longer.
O’Leary is unfit to be Lakewood’s Mayor.
Brian J. Essi is a lifelong resident of Lakewood with over 30 years of experience as a local lawyer and businessman.