CLEVELAND, OH – The AdvanceOhio chief executive who normally has a lot to say in controlled media settings about the city’s political affairs and public figures was unusually terse in his email to EJBNEWS that sought his response to Cleveland councilman Kenneth Johnson’s description of stories by reporter Mark Naymik as “fake news.” The independent website also asked Quinn if he would identify AdvanceOhio’s political, institutional and corporate clients; and the articles and acts that have been created to support their campaigns.
“I will not be responding to your inquiries,” Quinn wrote as he copied AdvanceOhio employees George Rodrigue, Elizabeth Sullivan and Naymik.
Johnson has flat out called Naymik’s series of articles false and unsupported by public record that shows him violating a criminal law or failing to perform a public duty. EJBNEWS asked Quinn to provide the following information in support of Naymik’s conclusions.
1. Was there a review of Naymik’s conclusions with a law enforcement officer knowledgeable in municipal laws and the ordinances of the city of Cleveland prior to publication of the stories he authored about Councilman Johnson?2. Does Naymik’s resume` include specialized knowledge of municipal laws in general, and the charter and ordinances of the city of Cleveland?3. Did Naymik consult the city’s governing documents prior to writing the stories published by AdvanceOhio?4. Did Naymik use R.C. 149.43 to request public records from the city of Cleveland’s council or department of law regarding the following?– Written opinions of the director of law regarding Councilman Johnson from 1981 through the current?– Complaints that have been filed against Councilman Johnson that alleged he exceeded or failed to perform duties authorized by the city’s governing documents?– Prosecution referals from the Auditor of State, Internal Auditor to a municipal or county prosecutor that identified acts Councilman Johnson committed as criminal violations of law?
EJBNEWS in its email to Quinn, Rodrigue, Sullivan and Naymik sought to learn why so much editorial coverage was being directed to attack an elected official whose career has never been embroiled in a public controversy that wasn’t created by reporters instead of allegations of known criminal misconduct.
EJBNEWS offered, as an example, the role the newspaper’s ex-publisher, Terrence Egger, played on the Cleveland Clinic board in support of ex-CEO Delos Cosgrove’s unlawful contract with Gary Norton to close Huron Hospital in East Cleveland.
EGGER’S CONFLICTS: Terrence Egger served on the Cleveland Clinic board and supported a vote to enter an illegal contract with the former Mayor of East Cleveland to close Huron Hospital for $20 million. I shared in my article that Cleveland Clinic officials knowingly entered a contract with a mayor whose sole duty was to enforce the ordinance council enacted which instructed him not to negotiate with them. The agreement was executed by the mayor without his first obtaining council approval. The $8 million Cleveland Clinic paid did not go to the city as it was not “received” by the council or appropriated into the budget. Cleveland Clinic officials paid the money into a separate account the mayor created. I need not remind you, Chris, of Ellen Kleinerman’s coverage of the illegal acts. I further need not remind you how the PD covered the county reform discussion after Egger invested $15,000 of his own money to fund Bill Mason’s “change the charter” campaign while he was running a public relations and marketing firm out of the prosecuting attorney’s office with his partner Tom Day.The conduct I’ve described is clearly unethical. Some of it is criminal. The agreement between Cleveland Clinic officials and Norton is a criminal tool. There is no doubt of the publisher’s involvement in Huron hospital’s closing. The absence of information anywhere in the Plain Dealer or cleveland.com‘s databases about the illegality of the agreement reflects the concealment of acts that editors of a newspaper driven to protect the public’s interest would see as criminal and a great harm to the public.The fact there is absolutely no Plain Dealer interpretation of the agreement between Cleveland Clinic and Norton as criminal, as well as no evidence of an editorial demand to know what happened to the $8 million, supports any logical person’s wonderment as to why a newspaper that proclaims to protect the public’s interest ignored such a major crime scandal. The sensible are reminded of David Packer of the National Enquirer and the steps he took to protect Donald Trump.What’s even more insidious is the newspaper had an obligation to protect the residents of East Cleveland and Cleveland who used the hospital’s emergency room to save lives, and for economic support, by exposing the criminal acts its publisher and the Cleveland Clinic board were engaging in with the duty-exceeding mayor. There was no “editorial alarm” sounded by reporters like Naymik back then. The Plain Dealer was not our PauL “the redcoats are coming” Revere. There was no warning from the Plain Dealer to trusting readers that its publisher was voting and conspiring to fuck over them. You didn’t give them shit in the way of a warning or editorial protection. Which is why the coverage of Johnson seems suspicious.
In its final two questions to Quinn and the other AdvanceOhio employees, EJBNEWS sought to learn the rationale behind a newspaper that editorially supports criminal acts in high places that harm more people while concentrating its editorial on lower officials who’ve committed no criminal acts; and creating the public impression that he’s the worst type of official.
1. Would AdvanceOhio’s news entities endorse a federal investigation of Huron Hospital’s closing even if it means the possible criminal prosecution of its former publisher?2. What is the basis of the reporting of acts committed by Ward 4 Councilman Johnson that are not violations of law, misconduct or neglect of duty?